The Santa Rosa City Council is moving forward with a new Sideshow Ordinance introduced at the Oct. 11 Council meeting, which includes the ability to arrest or cite participants, vehicle passengers, spectators, and organizers. A second reading for the adoption of the ordinance will take place at the City Council meeting on Oct. 25, 2022, with the ordinance going into effect 31 days on Nov. 25, 2022, if approved.
Over the last few years, Santa Rosa has experienced an increase in illegal and reckless driving exhibitions on City streets. These contests, known as “sideshows” (involving activities such as drifting, burnouts, and donuts) are held throughout the city several times per month, usually in the late night or early morning hours. Hundreds of participants and spectators at these dangerous sideshows converge on various public streets and off-street parking lots in both commercial and residential neighborhoods.
With the adoption of the sideshow ordinance, police officers can arrest or cite sideshow participants, vehicle passengers, spectators, and organizers, providing an additional tool for law enforcement to respond to and dissuade this illegal and unsafe behavior. Implementing this new ordinance will address the City Council’s goal to ensure a healthy and safe community for all - ensure the public's safety by engaging residents and using a broad range of proactive approaches.
“This ordinance is the new tool our city needs to deter dangerous and illegal sideshow behavior,” said Police Chief John Cregan. “The Santa Rosa Police Department has led local law enforcement efforts to evolve tactics and implement multiple strategies to prevent sideshows from occurring. SRPD will continue to educate the community about the dangers of illegal sideshows, identify ways to effectively engineer our intersections to dissuade sideshow activities and take enforcement action when they assemble anywhere in Sonoma County. Illegal sideshows will not be tolerated, and with the assistance of our community and our local law enforcement partners, we will continue to keep our community safe.”