A Resolution that would encourage cruising events throughout the state by having car groups work with local government entities passed the Assembly with a unanimous vote on Tuesday.
Assembly Concurrent Resolution 176, authored by Assemblywoman Luz Rivas (D-North Hollywood), would encourage local governments and law enforcement to work with car enthusiast and lowrider groups to encourage cruising events. Cruising, which is an event when those with custom, lowrider, and vintage cars drive slowly through an area or park to admire cars, has been closely tied with many areas and groups and California, most prominently with the Latino communities in Southern California.
ACR 176 also notes that interest in cruising has seen a resurgence in the last 10 years and groups have been more tied with running charity events as well, including some that raised money for COVID-19 victims during the pandemic.
Assemblywoman Rivas wrote the bill to help remove any remaining stigmas about lowrider and car customization culture and cruising, to further note it’s importance in Latino culture in California, to remove stereotypes of enthusiasts, and to work with local leaders and police to help accommodate cruising in a safe way for these communities.
“These laws wrongfully stereotype law-abiding car owners and conflate them with illegal street racers and sideshows who are and should be prosecuted for putting public lives in danger,” said Assemblywoman Rivas said. “It’s time for locals to follow these cities and repeal this archaic traffic law.”
Both Democrats and Republicans legislators in Sacramento have been for the bill, with it moving up quickly through the Assembly since the beginning of June. This culminated with a 71-0 vote in the Assembly on Tuesday.
“Not everyone gets the appeal of it,” noted “Dana,” a staffer at the state Capitol, to the Globe on Wednesday. “Those who aren’t Latino were kind of just confused by it. But, ultimately, everyone saw it as a way for a community to show it’s heritage in a safe way. And while these events with slow cars might annoy some, it can be compared to a parade or regular car meetup, so everyone was really on board. They might have still not get why they like to do this, but it is still a safe expression of culture that’s fun for many. If anyone was against it anyway, a good reasoning was that, at least this way, the city and local police would help look over things to ensure they go off without a hitch and alert traffic around the area to what is happening.”
Unanimous support for ACR 176
Lowrider and custom car enthusiasts were also happy with the Assembly vote on Wednesday.
“For several decades, lowriders were tied with gangs here,” explained Max Echevarria, a lowrider enthusiast and group leader in East Los Angeles, to the Globe on Wednesday. “It all began when Mexican-Americans in the 20’s and 30’s could only afford old cars and fixed them up, sometimes in unique ways. Then after World War II, it really took off, with lowriders being popular and cruising really coming into its own. The whole community embraced it, and it was only then associated with gangs because it was so submerged in Latino culture that a lot of younger people were doing it, and that included gang members. It became a notable thing about them, so it was then associated with it.”
“A lot of places tried to get rid of cruising in the 70’s, 80’s, and 90’s as part of the huge effort to cut down on gangs. But even the police admitted that people who liked lowriders and not in any gangs were in the extremely strong majority. They tried to create lowrider clubs to infiltrate them and all they did was make some rivalries with other lowrider clubs.”
“But this has been coming back Car customization has been shown as more positive in movies and TV and video games, and many Latinos wish to carry on that cultural legacy. And we know, having a car be low to the ground or bounce up and down, it’s not for everyone. But it is part of our culture, like those with German ancestry who like going to Oktoberfest or those with Chinese ancestry celebrating Chinese new year. It’s a long standing tradition to us that’s kind of engrained now. And, it’s something that isn’t hurting anyone. This is why ACR 176 is so important.”
ACR 176 is expected to go to Senate committee votes soon.