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National City permanently repeals ban on lowrider cruising

While some other cities around California lifted their cruising bans, lowriders in National City were hit with one setback after another. Now that's changed.

On Tuesday evening, National City leaders unanimously agreed that lowrider cruising is no longer a crime in the city.

“It's an exciting moment for the entire lowrider community — that the only place in San Diego County where lowriders had signs letting them know they weren't welcome — the signs are coming down,” said the United Lowrider Coalition’s Rafael Perez.

An official government sign stats "Cruising" prohibited in this undated photo.
Rabbit Arellano
United Lowrider Coalition
An official government sign states "Cruising" prohibited in this undated photo.

It's bringing a lot of joy to the many folks who have led the push to overturn the ban, like Perez.

The original 1992 law came after concerns of crime and traffic congestion from cruising, but advocates said times have changed. National City had the last active cruising ban in the county.

After decades of pushing to overturn the ordinance, the council voted to repeal the law. That decision will bring cruising back to National City's Highland Avenue once again.

“The cruising ban is being repealed and we can freely celebrate our culture across the county without any fear of being profiled, discriminated or harassed,” Perez said.

Lowrider cruising was permitted in Nation City during a short-term trial period last year, but this decision is permanent.


Now, with the repeal, people are planning to join the lowriders on the streets of National City in the near future.

“The city has events planned this summer. There's a car show at the end of the summer that has an organized cruise around it. So there's definitely going to be some cruising activity,” Perez said.

The United Lowrider Coalition’s Rafael Perez stands in front of his 1951 Chevrolet Styleline at San Diego's Chicano Park, April 5, 2023.
Jacob Aere
The United Lowrider Coalition’s Rafael Perez stands in front of his 1951 Chevrolet Styleline at San Diego's Chicano Park, April 5, 2023.

During Tuesday’s city council meeting State Assemblymember David Alvarez touted a bill he introduced that would lift cruising bans throughout California.

"I would like to thank the National City Council for their support and the United Lowrider Coalition for advocating on this culturally significant legislation. Assembly Bill 436 has created a grassroots coalition of community support, which continues to grow. The bill will allow the historical legacies of cruising to continue for the current generation and many more," Alvarez said in a statement.

The National City repeal faces a second reading of the ordinance which is slated for later this month. The ban on cruising in National City will officially be lifted 30 days after that, pending council vote.

“Just getting in your car, going for a cruise with your family, that's what we're all about. Just enjoying the culture, enjoying the cars,” Perez said.