We told you back in April to stop flying your drones around the Golden Gate Bridge, but you just couldn't listen, could you? Well, maybe you could, but enough folks couldn't, and now officials are forced to slap anti-drone signage on and near the iconic structure.
The Golden Gate Bridge, Highway and Transportation District spent much of 2015 working to get laws passed to make drone transit over the bridge officially illegal, by asking the Federal Aviation Administration to add language banning the devices over terrorism targets like the GGB. They also lobbied Senator Dianne Feinstein for bridge-protecting legislation, someone whom, Jay noted in April, "one can suspect has no patience for quadcopter drones."
The wheels of legislation grind slowly, though, as the Marin Independent Journal reports this week that "Technically, it's not illegal to fly a drone near the span."
However, the National Park Service, which controls the land that borders both sides of the bridge as well as the bridge's parking lots, banned drones "from all NPS-controlled lands and waters" in June 0f 2014, including "monuments, battlefields, historic sites, seashores, rivers and trails," CNN reported at the time. Oh, you mean like this flight in May of 2015?
So, as "people often will launch from the parking lots," bridge manager Kary Witt told the I-J, those folks are indeed breaking federal law from the word "go."
Hence the signs, which Bay City News reports are being installed at the bridge this week. As Witt tells the I-J, "People will be getting these things for Christmas and they think, 'Oh, cool, let's go to the Golden Gate Bridge'...But they may not be aware of the regulations prohibiting it."
Citing safety as one reason for the ban, district officials said in a statement that “Whether due to operator error or technical problems, drones can and do fail."
“When they drop from the sky, they pose great risk of causing traffic, bicycle and pedestrian accidents, especially given the crowded conditions on the bridge.”
National Park Service spokesperson Adrienne Freeman adds that "The drones have the potential of interfering with emergency operation, there can also be an effect on species, such as falcons, and it's also about the visitor experience."
"People don't like things buzzing over their heads when they are in the park."
According to BCN, "drones found flying near the bridge will be tracked and confiscated, while the operator will be identified and may face prosecution."
And remember, you only have until February 19 to register your drone with the FAA, as is now required by law. Registration is free for the next month, and after that it's $5. Fail to register and, says the FAA, you will be subject to civil and criminal penalties, so get registered and away from the bridge, nerds.