California governor signs bill to lift cruising ban, allow lowriders
Cruising is coming back to California after city ordinances had banned the practice for decades. Governor Gavin Newsom signed AB 436 into law on Ocrober 13, and it will go into effect starting January 1, 2024. The bipartisan bill, one of about 100 that were recently signed into law by the governor, amends Section 21100 of the Vehicle Code to remove the section that allows the banning of cruising, and it also repeals Section 24008 of the Vehicle Code that targets lowered vehicles in particular. The relevant portion of the bill, which also addressed other aspects of vehicle code, reads as follows:
This bill would remove the authorization for a local authority to adopt rules and regulations by ordinance or regulation regarding cruising.
Existing law makes it unlawful to operate a passenger vehicle, or commercial vehicle under 6,000 pounds, that has been modified from its original design so that any portion of the vehicle, other than the wheels, has less clearance from the surface of a level roadway than the clearance between the roadway and the lowermost portion of any rim of any wheel in contact with the roadway.
This bill would repeal that prohibition.
Many of the anti-cruising ordinances passed in California were seen as discriminatory, specifically targeting lowriders. Cruising is typically a community event, and plenty of clubs will be taking advantage of the new changes to the vehicle code to get out and show off the custom cars and trucks they’re rightfully so proud of.
Plenty of those car clubs won’t have to wait until January 1, 2024, when the law goes into effect, as some cities have been working on removing cruising bans for years. Cruising had been banned in Salinas, Monterey County’s largest city, since 1992. That ban was lifted earlier this year, 31 years to the day after the ban was implemented, as the legislation was still making its way through California’s congress. Visit Alvarado Street in Monterey during Car Week and you can get a pretty good idea of what cruising looks like on the Central Coast. You can find lowriders, muscle cars, and custom pickups making a few passes in a loop of downtown, stealing some of the limelight from the exotics that invade town each year.
Cruising has been a big part of car culture for decades in cities and regions all across California, including Salinas, Los Angeles, and the Central Valley, which was immortalized in George Lucas’ American Graffiti, set in Modesto. We’re looking forward to 2024, when we can see more of these rolling sculptures hitting the road, and we’re sure that dozens of car clubs across the state are eager to put their best work on display.