This shouldn’t need to be said, but apparently at least a few people need to be told, so here it goes:
Whatever you do, do not attempt to ride one of San Francisco’s electric scooters on the Bay Bridge. In fact, keep them off all bridges and all freeways altogether.
In addition to being perilous and a recipe for creating what would surely be San Francisco’s stupidest traffic tragedy should an errant motorist make a wrong move, it turns out taking the two-wheeled conveyances up onto the span is illegal and may net a fine.
Naturally, this announcement is not unsolicited: Last Thursday, an afternoon commuter heading east on the bridge around 2:30 p.m. spotted a pair of ne’er-do-wells taking some rented scooters for a spin on the span.
There’s even a bit of video footage via SFGate:
Unfortunately, this outing illustrated one of the many reasons why nobody should do this: The videographer testified that the pair also caused a brief traffic jam with their antics.
On top of that, a California Highway Patrol officer told ABC 7 that trying to scoot over to Oakland this way is “completely illegal,” noting that under current California law the e-scooters are “not a motor vehicle, not a motorcycle. It cannot be on the freeway.”
Technically, non-motor vehicles like bicycles are allowed to cross the bridge, and Caltrans notes that certain sections of California freeway are open to cyclists as well:
Of the more than 4,000 miles of freeways in California, about 1,000 miles are open to bicyclists. These open sections are usually in rural areas where there is no alternate route. [...] Caltrans and local agencies may prohibit bicyclists from traveling on freeways under their jurisdiction and that they must erect signs stating the prohibition. [...] The freeway will be posted at the next on-ramp with a sign that says “Bicycles Prohibited.”
Of course, an e-scooter is not a bike, the Bay Bridge is not a rural road, and cyclists are supposed to use the bike path on the span.
San Franciscans will have time study up on the nuances of these rules when scooters go offline from June 4 up to July 1 while SFMTA considers company’s permit applications, which will include plans from scooter rental companies about how to minimize scooter clutter on streets and sidewalks.
- Scooters Illegally On Bay Bridge [YouTube]
- CHP Not Amused By Scooters [ABC7]
- Can I Take My Bike On Freeway? [Caltrans]
- Bay Bridge Bike Path
- Scooters Off Sidewalks In June [Curbed SF]