Q Sunday in San Francisco could be a gigantic tie-up. We have Bay to Breakers, the Amgen Tour bicycle race and the Alcatraz swim. There are street closings adding to the mess. We plan to see the Aquatic Park finish of the swim but are afraid that it will be near impossible to drive anywhere near. Any suggestions? ... I'm driving from Cupertino to Mendocino on Sunday morning. Unfortunately, I just realized this is the same day as the Bay to Breakers race. Short of leaving before dawn, do you have a recommendation for the best route to avoid traffic?

Bill Schick and Brian C.

A To get to the North Bay, take Interstate 880 north to Interstate 80 to the Richmond-San Rafael Bridge and then to Highway 101, even though construction on the bridge could slow you down.

Bay to Breakers starting line.
Bay to Breakers starting line. (Mercury News archives)

There are two options for people from the south to get to the northern waterfront:

Use northbound Highway 1 through Golden Gate Park and turn right on Geary Boulevard. Take eastbound Geary to Van Ness Avenue and turn left. Turn left on Bay Street for the Marina Green or right on North Point Street for Fisherman's Wharf. State Route 1 is the only north-south road that is grade-separated and thus passes over the race course and stays open all day.

Or use northbound Interstate 280 to King Street northbound to The Embarcadero. Turn left on either Bay or North Point streets to reach Fisherman's Wharf and the Marina district. The city will try to keep The Embarcadero open at all times, but sometimes the crowd of runners waiting behind the starting line backs up onto The Embarcadero and blocks it.

Drivers should allow plenty of time, as traffic will be very slow through the area at The Embarcadero and Howard Street and State Route 1. The Bay to Breakers race begins at 7 a.m., but street closures begin much earlier. Try Caltrain and BART as well, as extra trains will be running.

The Alcatraz swim starts at 7:50 a.m., and the bike race begins at 8:15 a.m. at the Marina Green.

Added Bond-the-S.F.-Traffic-Man: "Bay to Breakers day is not a good day to be driving in San Francisco."

Q I am finally angry enough to write you! In response to the email from a motorcyclist, Phil Alfonso, and your inept defense on lane-splitting, I offer up my comments:

No one is in favor of lane-splitting and all detest it. Alfonso states "most drivers have really poor driving skills." How ridiculous. The Bay Area has some of the worse commutes in the nation, and drivers here do an excellent job navigating the freeways to and from work each day.

Then you pile on by adding, "Lane-splitting at low speeds ... does not catch motorists by surprise." Are you kidding me? This is exactly the problem each of you choose to ignore.

Here is what is actually occurring on the highways: Drivers are paying attention and looking for motorcycles. However, it is impossible to spot them as they duck in behind the car behind you, just as you are looking in your side-view mirror. Then they dart out and pass you just as you are checking to see if the car in front of you is slowing down for a backup to a bridge, tunnel or accident. Roaring and racing their engines, they pass and barely miss your side mirror, startling you, and continue on recklessly weaving in and out of traffic like morons.

If you think for one minute they travel at low speeds or don't catch most motorists by surprise, then you don't commute in the real world, as you boast you do. You and Phil need to take a deep breath, start a safety class at the DMV together, and teach bikers how to drive safely, slowly and politely between autos traveling 65 mph and faster.

Dennis Viers

San Ramon

A Maybe you and Phil should both attend a motorcycle safety fair Saturday at the CHP's San Jose office. There will be motorcycle inspections, talks on safety rules, safety tips and current laws. The event runs from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at 2020 Junction Avenue. It's free, with plenty of good food available.

Q Since you seem to know just about everything car- and road-related, maybe you can help me. My daughter found a California auto license plate. I would like to return it to its owner. Where would I turn it in, or how would I go about returning it?

Megan Marwede

Los Altos

A If someone finds a California license plate, there is no need to return it to the DMV, as the owner usually has already obtained new plates. However, you can always take it to a local DMV office or police department.

Follow Gary Richards at Twitter.com/mrroadshow, look for him at Facebook.com/mr.roadshow, or contact him at mrroadshow@mercurynews.com or 408-920-5335.