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Low-riders are among the safest drivers: They don’t run red lights or text & drive
PERSPECTIVE
low rider
Low-rider cruising in San Diego.

The California car culture isn’t what it used to be.

It is why it is curious that cities have anti-cruising laws on the books.

And more specifically, some cities like Fresno and Los Angeles had ordinances aimed specifically “at low and slow” moving cars, for want of a better word, “parading” on streets impeding traffic flow.

If improved public safety and better traffic flow is the goal, they should make driving in the fast lane of Interstate 5 between where I-580 joins it south of Tracy to the Grapevine at 45 mph, while a steady stream of cars pass you on the right carry a minimum jail term of six months.

Granted, that would be more than a tad over reactive.

But then again. so are cruising laws in 2023.

First of all, when it comes to driving city streets, it would be a welcome sight if people deliberately drove substantially below the speed limit instead of substantially above it.

You won’t find very many low-riders running red lights or causing T-bone collisions.

Nor will you find anyone with a classic car that they have restored or modified doing so either.

After all, the represent a huge investment of passion, sweat, and time not to mention money.

I’d rather have the streets full of drivers passionate about their vehicle and treat them with respect whether they are in the early Bondo stage or completely re-imagined.

It beats those who have enough money to toss around — or have no skin in the game in terms of what they are driving — that they have complete disregard for their vehicle and others.

For most of us, driving a car is the second most expensive asset we own when maintaining and operating them are included in the equation.

Although Assembly Bill 436 that goes into effect at the stroke of midnight Sunday is aimed at banning local jurisdictions from having laws that ban low-rider cruising, it is widely being interpreted as being applied to all cruising.

To be honest, is there really any cruising anymore?

You weren’t considered an American teen — especially if you were a male — after World War II if you didn’t climb behind a wheel as soon as you legally could, if not earlier.

Teens practically begged to be allowed to get a job so they could buy their first clunker and be able to plunk down four-bits to buy two gallons of gas and get a nickel back in change.

If you have no idea of what four-bits are worth, then you weren’t around when the first Mustangs hit the streets in 1964.

Today, a small but growing trend is for teens not to drive their parents up to get their learner’s permit the second they reach 15½  and then take their driver’s test on their 16th birthday.

Instead, many are waiting until they are out of high school to do so.

That would clearly have Fred MacMurray taking his three sons to therapy if they did not want to drive.

The truth be told, it is expensive for a teen to buy a car, operate and maintain it, and even insure it.

It would be difficult to do even if they get paid $20 an hour for flipping burgers, four hours a day, several days after school.

Teens shouldn’t be worried about such costs and certainly can find better ways to spend their youth than being part-time grease monkeys. Right?

Given, the cost of video games such as Grand Theft Auto and the amount of time devoted to gaming  how many teens and/or their parents really have the money or time to have a car as a teen?

Besides, it takes a lot of hand-eye coordination to effectively use a controller to steal a car and maneuver down virtual streets to impress your friends with your driving skills.

As for low-riders, one hopes they are around for a long, long time.

But somehow it’s tough to picture electric vehicles such as a Tesla being embraced by the low-rider culture.

Then there is the problem with the pre-existing battery pack that is low to the ground already.

Other EVs have the battery pack in the back.

Would this mean the added batteries for hydraulics to do the required “hopping” would be in the front? As such, would that concentrate most of the “hopping” in the rear?

Those are clearly questions for a future generation of auto enthusiasts that manage to escape being burned to death by overnight house fires caused by recharging electric scooters.

There is little doubt America’s love affair with cars is maturing.

But it is also safe to say it is far from over.

Autos clearly provide transportation for masses unlike “mass transportation” as defined by buses, light train, heavy rail and such.

If you doubt that, consider the fact there are 39.4 million Californians and 14.5 million registered automobiles in the Golden State.

There are roughly 100,000 buses.

The biggest movement of the masses in California is clearly the automobile, and not the bus or trains.

It is not a surprise that California has the highest number of registered vehicles in the United States.

However, when it comes to vehicles per 1,000 licensed drivers, California comes in at 39th or 1,132 vehicles.

Stats compiled by the Federal Highway Administration puts Montana at the top of the list at 2,492 vehicles per 1,000 licensed drivers.

The times have changed.

Cruising — even Modesto-style that inspired “American Graffiti” — has changed as into non-existent except those tied to scheduled events.

As for low-rider vehicles per se, I’ll gladly share Main Street or Yosemite Avenue with them any day of the week.

They don’t run red lights.

They don’t speed.

They don’t tailgate.

And you’d be hard-pressed to find one that texts and drives.

 

 

 

This column is the opinion of editor, Dennis Wyatt, and does not necessarily represent the opinions of The Bulletin or 209 Multimedia. He can be reached at dwyatt@mantecabulletin.com