Bay to Breakers Has a New Set of Sobering Rules

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You are supposed to sit on the toilet, not shit on it.
This year's Bay to Breakers will look -- and feel -- a bit different than what you've come to know in year's past. For starters, there will be no floats allowed and no "wheeled objects" permitted -- that includes moms (or dads) with strollers and bicycles.

And remember the roving tiki bar in 2005? Or that giant duck float from 2010? Gone.

Last year, race operators released a slew of new rules restricting the only-in-San Francisco traditions that have shaped the bizarreness of B2B since its inception. Much of that fun was alcohol-induced, but now race participants have to leave their booze at home. And no dog or headphones, either, because you know what they say: If you act like children, you will be treated like children. Also everyone has to wear a bib to prove they are paid and registered for the race -- unregistered runners and last-minute registrations are absolutely forbidden (that includes you, Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom!).

Yes, it kind of sounds like B2B has become a killjoy, but organizers say these new rules aren't meant to do away with the zany fun. Rather, they are there to make the footrace a safer and -- fingers crossed -- a much cleaner event.

Speaking of being clean, some 1,200 portable toilets will be stationed at intervals along the route, which means you'll have to exercise those potty-training skills you learned as a toddler. If you are able to hold it and use a Porta-Potty like an adult, then you will be rewarded, just like any 3-year-old -- or puppy. We're not kidding! An attendant will be there to hand you a wristband proclaming you as a bona fide "Potty Hero" for not pissing and defecating anywhere other than a public restroom.

So if you're planning to partake in the race this weekend, expect to see plenty police out there enforcing the news rules and trying to make it safer for you. However, if you're like us, then you'll be swigging a beer, with your dog by your side in the comfort of your own home, far away from the Bay to Breakers stampede.

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As a resident of an apartment building right on Fell Street, I can say that all of these rules and procedures have made the event far, far worse than they where four years ago. Last year all of the fencing along Fell Street and the positioning of the limited number of portable toilets, right next to apartment buildings, caused people to actually climb onto my apartment building's landscaping to urinate, destroying plants as they walked around. Instead of just isolating the limited damage to Fell, the fencing pushed people further into the neighborhood, causing a lot more noise and trash problems. It was a disaster.

The best solution would have been for SF to learn from other cities that handle large events all of the time, like NYC (lesson: get many, many more portable toilets), or cities in Europe (lesson: install, for one day, urinals that actually encircle the trees in the Panhandle). But no, SF has to try to reinvent everything from scratch, and make mistakes all over again, turning the city into an armed camp in the process.

I used to love B2B, and I don't even drink. Now I'm thinking about getting out of town for the event. Sad.

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