Can You Fly A Drone Near A Bridge? Most Popular Bridge Rules

can you fly a drone near a bridge

As an enthusiastic aviator, have you ever wondered if you can fly your drone near, above, or under a bridge? You can get one of the best aerial views of the city, the highway, and the surrounding lands. Therefore, it is only natural to ask, is it prohibited to fly a drone near a bridge? Read on to find out.

No, you cannot fly a drone near a bridge. The safe altitude requirement makes it almost impossible to fly a drone over it. Drones are allowed to be operated in Class G airspace, 400 feet from the ground. Most bridges are taller than 400 feet, so flying over them would be a violation.

The safest thing to do is to stay clear of all bridges when you want to fly your drone. It is better to fly safely and comply with drone laws than capture beautiful scenery with your drone and have your drone confiscated, and possibly have legal steps taken against you.

Can You Fly A Drone Near A Bridge?

The Federal Aviation Administration is charged with the regulation of aircraft, including manned aircraft like helicopters and unmanned aircraft like drones. There is no law in place that says a pilot can or cannot fly a drone near a bridge.

The FAA specifies the maximum altitude for flying a drone to be 400 feet above the ground, so if you are to fly above any structure, you might have to fly higher, especially if the structure is tall.

To fly near a bridge, you have to keep a safe distance between your drone and the bridge, but you must also fly within 400 feet of it. By going higher than that, you are flying in controlled airspace, which is a direct violation of the FAA laws. Most bridges are tall, so it is not easy to fly over them without violating FAA laws.

Another reason flying near a bridge is not allowed is to curb reckless and careless drone pilots. To prevent accidents from happening on bridges when a pilot flies recklessly, drones cannot be operated near a bridge. If a drone develops technical difficulties when in flight and drops from the sky, it can result in accidents.

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Can You Fly Your Drone Near The Golden Gate Bridge?

The Golden Gate Bridge is located in one of the most popular tourist attractions, and it is an iconic bridge. With the number of tourists visiting, you might want to capture a nice aerial photo of it. However, is it allowed; can you fly a drone near the Golden Gate Bridge?

By law, it is prohibited to fly a drone over or near the famous bridge. If you are caught flying a drone near the protected area, it could be confiscated, and you could face multiple fines. There are different reasons why flying drones near the Golden Gate Bridge is prohibited. We list a few of them below.

  • Since the Golden Gate Bridge is a highway with many vehicles and commuters traveling on it, flying a drone can distract road users and result in accidents.
  • If a drone collides with birds and other flying creatures above the bridge, it could harm them and harm commuters traveling.
  • If a drone develops technical difficulties mid-air and drops from the sky, it can cause accidents to both vehicles and pedestrians.
  • If a drone malfunctions during a flight and drops from the sky, it can cause traffic congestion on the overcrowded bridge.

So, if you are hoping or planning to fly your drone above or near the Golden Gate Bridge, do not attempt to. You could have your drone confiscated, and you could be prosecuted for violating the law.

You should know that although flying a drone near the Golden Gate Bridge is prohibited, there is an exception to this rule. In order to legally fly a drone, you will need a location agreement or permit from Golden Gate Bridge, Highway, and Transportation District.

However, to get a permit, you must submit the request 30 days before the day you fly the drone, and not all permit requests are granted by the Golden Gate Bridge, Highway, and Transportation District. If you are lucky enough to get a permit to fly your drone near the Golden Gate Bridge, ensure you fly your drone in accordance with FAA drone laws to avoid prosecution.

The Federal Aviation Administration has complete control of the airspace of the United States. However, a government agency can ban the taking off and landing of drones on a property it owns or controls. Accordingly, drones are not allowed near the Golden Gate Bridge due to the ban by the bridge’s agency and not the FAA.

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FAA Rule For Flying Over Traffic

Previously, the FAA allowed drone pilots to fly their drone over a person inside a vehicle that could protect them if the unmanned aircraft were to fall. However, the Federal Aviation Administration has modified this rule.

The new rule will not allow unmanned aircraft to operate over moving vehicles because the potential impact a falling drone has on traffic poses greater risks due to head-on closure speeds. Also, in an attempt to avoid a crashing drone, the driver of a moving vehicle could be forced to divert, and an accident can occur.

As a result, flying a drone over moving vehicles is prohibited, either over streets, highways, or bridges. The driver of a vehicle might be oblivious to the presence of a drone, and they will not be prepared to respond safely if one crashes or falls from the sky. The only time you can fly a drone over a moving vehicle is if the passengers are directly involved in the drone’s operation.

Can You Fly A Drone Over Mackinac Bridge?

The Mackinac Bridge is the longest suspension bridge in the western hemisphere. It has a total length of 26,372 feet, and the bridge connects the Lower Peninsula of Michigan with the Upper Peninsula. Mackinac Bridge is also referred to as Big Mac or Mighty Mac, and the bridge was opened in 1957.

The state lawmakers of Michigan passed a bill that made flying drones near or over the Mackinac Bridge illegal. If you are caught flying a drone within a thousand feet of the bridge, you could receive a jail sentence of up to 93 days or a fine of $500 or both.

Can You Fly A Drone Over The Royal Gorge Bridge?

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The Royal Gorge Bridge is the tallest in the United States and was once the tallest bridge globally. The Royal Gorge Bridge hangs 955 feet above the Arkansas River, and it is near Canon City, Fremont County, Colorado.

Drones are not allowed near or over the Royal Gorge Bridge or the park. Only production companies with insurance and pilot licenses can fly a drone in the park and near the bridge.

Final Thoughts

San Francisco has some of the most confusing drone laws in the United States. So, before you fly a drone in any part of the city, you must know all FAA drone laws, California State drone laws, and local laws.

If you get a permit to fly a drone near the Golden Gate Bridge, the best and safest place to take off is on water or in an open field. It is better for your drone to crash in the water than for an accident to occur on the bridge. So, fly safe and have a great time.

By Shawn Manaher

Shawn Manaher loves to play with new toys and dive into new hobbies. As a serial entrepreneur, work definitely comes first but there is always room for hobbies.