Cruise culture returns to National City

NATIONAL CITY, Calif. (KGTV) — After decades of being banned, cruising is making a temporary return to National City this spring.

The United Lowrider Coalition has fought for months to have the cruise ban repealed, and National City leaders are giving them a deadline to show it can safely return.

The ban

The ban was introduced in 1992 when the city council passed a city ordinance.

The city classified cruising as “the repetitive driving of a motor vehicle two or more times in a four-hour period, in the same direction, past a traffic checkpoint in traffic that is congested at or near the traffic checkpoint”.

If someone is found guilty of cruising, they could be fined $1,000 and spend up to six months behind bars.

The stereotype

When the ban was introduced, those driving said they were being stereotyped.

“We’ve been labeled as the cholos or the bad guys, the thugs, the guys who come here and cause trouble and trouble,” Rabbit said.

His wife said what people didn’t know was that those behind the hydraulics had careers to support their hobby.

“They don’t realize it even back when we all had jobs. We all had careers. We all had families and our cars meant a lot and a lot of money was invested in our cars,” he said. said Jovita Arellano.

Potential trade boom

So much money, it fueled an industry.

“You can easily spend $30,000 on a paint and scratch job. It’s an expensive hobby,” said Jonathan Mercado of Mercado’s Pinstriping.

Mercado does custom paint and striping jobs for car enthusiasts. He believes the temporary return has the potential to help his industry thrive.

“You’re going to have to involve more people in the sport. So more cars are being built. They need painters and plotters. There’s a lot of talent out there, not just me,” he said . “There are a lot of styles. So that will definitely help us.”


“It’s going to be like going back to Disneyland now,” Marcos “Mr. Rabbit” Arellano said with a smile. “Lowriding – it’s not just about cars. It’s a brotherhood. It’s a family.”

Culture is something that comes with cruising.

“The only word that would describe lowrider culture would be unity,” said Jovita Arellano.

The group hopes to change the stereotype.

“What we do for community and what we do for positivity, we’re trying to change the narrative,” Donnie Taylor said.

Repeal efforts continue

The coalition hopes to secure the complete repeal of the 30-year-old ordinance.

“If we do this in National City, which would be the first city in the state of California to repeal a cruise ban ordinance, then other cities are going to jump on it and ask for our help,” Jovita Arellano said.

The first cruise during the trial period is scheduled for April 2.

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