Sacramento repeals ban on lowriding

The City of Sacramento has repealed a 34-year-old ban on cruising or lowriding — a policy that has been blasted as archaic and discriminatory against the Black and Chicano communities. The repeal was supported by a unanimous vote of the City Council.

“It’s very important that we have laws on the books that prohibit reckless driving and speeding and side shows. That’s not what cruising is,” Mayor Darrell Steinberg told ABC News. “Cruising is a historic and important part of our culture, our Latino culture, and it is to be celebrated.”

Authorities have not been enforcing the law for the past decade, but the formal repeal is seen as a highly symbolic victory for social justice. Councilwoman Katie Valenzuela, who sponsored the motion to repeal, said the law evokes painful memories of the past. The vast majority of lowrider fans and drivers are people of color and cruising bans are now widely seen as discriminatory. Outfitting and showcasing custom cars is a form of speech and artistic expression for many in these communities.

Celebrations broke out at Cesar Chavez Park after the vote. Olivia Fonseca of the Sacramento Lowrider Commission became visibly emotional during the City Council meeting.

The heyday for lowriding was in the 1980s and early 90s. But the practice made a big comeback during the pandemic. Learn more about the history of cruising and its cultural significance at the Natural Museum of African History and Culture.