BY JAY BARMANN
Only in SF? Here’s an alternate headline: Man Surreptitiously Photographing People At Farmers’ Market Suddenly Has Privacy Concerns About Being Photographed. You’ve got tech, farmers’ markets, inconsiderate drone behavior, and privacy paranoia all wrapped up into one neat story! As Richmond District Blog narrates for us, the man in the photo above had been flying a fairly large drone over the Clement Street Farmers’ Market on Sunday and it then crashed into the middle of the crowd, “and nearly landed on someone’s head,” according to reader Jaime.
It only took “about 45 seconds and much bewilderment from market shoppers” before the man appeared out of nowhere, ran up to the crash site, collected his drone, and tried to jog away without apology.
Jaime then whipped out her camera, snapped the above pic of the guy and his female friend, and they then had the nerve to get pissy. “They said, what did I think I was doing taking their picture as they tried to cover their faces? I replied ‘Don’t you see the irony here? You guys just did the EXACT same thing to me and everyone else at the Farmers Market.’”
Likely they probably did not see the irony, and are not deep thinkers, but they are people who can afford a large, expensive drone.
There have been some recent dustups and signs posted banning the flying of drones around the Golden Gate Bridge and near SFO — and some idiot last month almost crashed a drone into a CHP helicopter — but so far we have not had any local or state laws enacted to keep drone owners from flying over freeways, major thoroughfares, or crowds of people, be they in Dolores Park or at a farmers’ market. A crashing drone like the one this past Sunday could, in fact, seriously hurt someone just like any projectile or falling object could, so maybe we should be talking about this!
The Chron ran a piece about calls for drone-flying rules a full year ago but nothing’s happened yet except the gripes about the bridge and the airport. What about “no drones over crowded public streets” at all? Is it going to take someone losing an eye before this happens?
As you can see from the map posted here, pretty much all of SF is technically a freeforall, drone-wise, with drones only technically banned in national parks like Ocean Beach and the Presidio.