San Francisco tourists take GoCars across Bay Bridge 

click to enlarge While most GoCar users, above, are content to trundle through parks and streets, several hit the Bay Bridge on Monday. - COURTESY OF GOCAR TOURS
  • Courtesy of GoCar Tours
  • While most GoCar users, above, are content to trundle through parks and streets, several hit the Bay Bridge on Monday.

Three of the yellow, three-wheeled tourist vehicles known as GoCars traversed the western span of the Bay Bridge on Monday, ending up at Treasure Island, according to the company's founder.

Video of the Monday incident hit YouTube shortly thereafter.

GoCar Rentals founder Nathan Withrington said customers are explicitly debriefed that the device they will soon be piloting is not freeway legal. The English-accented, GPS-guided "talking" cars are categorized as "motor-driven cycles" akin to mopeds.

And yet "a convoy" of three GoCars put-putted across the Bay Bridge, reaching Treasure Island and earning a date with the California Highway Patrol. The vehicles are visible toward the end of the video, in the extreme left of the screen.

The offending trio also had to pay a substantial "tow fee" that came out to $100 per motorist, said Withrington.

"I think once the cops get involved, [drivers] don't particularly enjoy it much," he said. "The CHP contacted us and guided them into a safe spot. We had to go get them. It ruined their fun tour and didn't particularly entertain us much either."

Withrington said he believes this is the first time a GoCar ended up on the freeway this year. In the nine years since he founded the company here in The City, he said, this is a once- or twice-a-year occurrence.

Another video of a GoCar on the bridge was posted to YouTube on Jan. 2.

The larger version of the GoCar has a 150-cubic-centimeter motor and tops out at 45 mph. A smaller car is only 50 CCs and can travel 30 mph. Withrington is unsure which versions were towed from Treasure Island on Monday.

"I think they accidentally got on the on-ramp — and once you're on the on-ramp you're funneled onto the freeway," Withrington said. "They left the tour. And once you leave the tour, you're on your own."

Until the CHP gets involved, that is.

Correction: This story was updated July 24 to correct the spelling of GoCar Rentals founder Nathan Withrington's name.

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