A Swiss tourist skateboarded through a Melbourne motorway tunnel yesterday because he thought it would be the quickest way to get to his hotel.

Dominic Emmenegger, 21, rode through the Burnley tunnel, which carries more than 150,000 cars a day.

His 7.35am rush-hour joyride ended when he fell off his board near the bottom of the tunnel, suffering severe grazes to his hands and legs.

Motorist Mick Vrselja said Mr Emmenegger was in the middle lane when he fell off, and narrowly escaped being hit by a semi-trailer.

Mr Emmenegger told the Herald Sun he was travelling at least 60km/h when he turned round, saw a truck behind him, and fell.

"I've never gone that fast on a skateboard, it was too fast, I thought I was going to die," he said.

Firefighter Allan Morton said the tourist had no idea he was breaking the law.

- Staff reporter