San Francisco, California

Funeral Processions in the San Francisco Area

Funeral processions in San Francisco can be a little bit different. They are noted for length.

What manager Lisa Pollard calls the world's most photographed band appears in San Francisco streets every week -- to tourist delight -- as processions wind through neighborhoods led by the Green Street Mortuary Brass Band, available to clients of Green Street Mortuary. One or two other marching bands in the San Francisco Bay Area participate in funeral processions as the ritual begun by the Chinese community is adopted by others.

Depending on who you know, or knew, your procession might be escorted by members of the city's finest. But if SFPD isn't available, other motor escort services offer motorcycle riders who clear intersections and keep cars together in orderly fashion. The California Highway Patrol has decreed one rider per 10 cars in a funeral procession is the minimum to maintain safe standards. A lawsuit some years ago in Los Angeles established that front and rear funeral party stickers on all procession cars are necessary to secure liability cover. Help with floral arrangement transport and parking are other services escorts offer.

Typically, marching bands and escort riders are arranged through funeral directors.

Golden Gate Funeral Escorts is not affiliated with a mortuary or a funeral home and can be booked directly. The company carries $1 million each in general liability and vehicle liability coverage. All Golden Gate riders have completed a Certified Escort Riders Training (CERT) program. The riders wear uniforms and ride motorcycles outfitted on the order of police cruisers. Golden Gate provides funeral stickers for each car in a procession. Typical time of service is two-and-a-half hours. Golden Gate operates primarily in Marin County.

South Valley Escorts, (408) 979-8440 and (408) 979-8404, fax, contracts with five mortuaries and covers Santa Clara, Alameda and Contra Costa Counties with occasional work in San Francisco and South San Francisco.