San Diego, California

Funeral Processions in San Diego

Motorcycle escorts are key to keeping a funeral procession in good order as mourners make their way from service to cemetery. It's all about safety. Riders are counted out per numbers of cars in the procession; one per 10 is a handy rule of thumb. Among duties are mapping an optimal route, distributing placards to mark cars in the procession, and looking official and respectful, usually through uniforms.

Police departments dispatch escort riders typically only for high-profile funeral processions, such as for a statesman, a fallen police officer, or a celebrity of note.

Motorcycle escort riders, who might have served public safety forces such as police or fire, are trained to specifications certified by California Highway Patrol. They are tested frequently on bike skills. Despite the idea, escorting funeral processions is dangerous. When needed, riders speed alongside procession cars to reach and secure intersections to allow the mourners through. Motorists not involved in the procession can be inattentive, disrespectful or ignorant of traffic laws regarding funeral processions. A wrong move can prove disastrous. Escort riders have been killed. And while San Diego's traffic isn't as crowded or fierce as that in Los Angeles, at times it seems to try.

Two companies in San Diego County offer motorcycle escort services for funeral processions:

California Motor Escort in La Mesa, in business 21 years, contracts with funeral homes. The company does not deal with the public.

National Public Safety of El Cajon is a private security company that offers motorcycle escort as one of a number of services, including patrol and alarm-response, mounted patrol and crowd control, and community relations. The company averages 20 to 25 funerals per week. Its Web site offers a page for submitting a quote request. Motorcycle escorts cost $125 per bike. The company, which carries a $5 million liability insurance policy, has 15 motorcycles.