SAN FRANCISCO—BFGoodrich Scorchers can hit the streets of San Francisco legally. They'd just better not leave their mark. A Valentine's Day plea by a Michelin North America Inc. executive before San Francisco supervisors—and a promise not to advertise the Y-generation treads in local publications—apparently swayed officials to drop a proposed ban on the colored tires.
The San Francisco Board of Supervisors unanimously passed Supervisor Mabel Teng's legislation concerning the Scorcher—sans the ban—on March 6.
"I am pleased that Michelin has shown that they are ready to be responsible corporate citizens," Ms. Teng said. "I hope this legislation serves as a lesson to all manufacturers that public safety is our highest priority in San Francisco."
The compromise worked out with the city calls for Michelin, based in Greenville, S.C., to create a toll-free phone number for city workers and police officers to report colored skid marks on city streets, and, if any turn up, pay for the cost of clean-up.
In its letter urging officials not to outlaw the tires, Michelin's James Morton, vice president of public relations and government relations, pointed out, "Thousands of tires with colored treads have been sold nationwide since July and, to our knowledge, not a single incident of these tires being used inappropriately has been reported."
The March 1 letter also noted that the company plans to make Scorchers available in lime green, orange, purple, orchid and turquoise.
Mr. Morton could not be reached for reaction to the news that his February appearance before the supervisors had paid off, but the company issued a statement in which it expressed pleasure with the compromise and said, "We are glad to have resolved the issue in San Francisco."
For others, the chance to spin some public relations, if not rubber, was irresistible. Ms. Teng's office issued a press release proclaiming she had put "the brakes on irresponsible advertising of colored tires."
Mr. Yip is a freelance writer based in California.