Skip to main content

Street takeovers or “sideshows” are popping up all over the United States and seem to be getting bigger and more destructive. Recent car events of this nature have ended in riot-esque scenes of fire, theft, violence, and other forms of destructive behavior. While many cities are working to combat these illegal car events, no city has gone as far as one town in California wants to go. 

Oakland street takeover ends in burning Nissan 370Z getting rammed by a Subaru Outback.
Burning Nissan 370Z | Bay Area State of Mind

What is a street takeover or “sideshow?” 

Street takeovers or “sideshow” events are public, unsanctioned events where people gather with powerful cars (often modded) to display their cars and abilities to drive wild. These events usually start with a few cars doing burnouts or donuts in public intersections. This is highly disruptive and dangerous. However, these events have grown wildly out of control lately. Just last week, we saw an event in Oakland, CA, where over 250 cars showed up, and the police impounded 80 of them. There were fires, stolen cars, damaged property, and fireworks. 

Given these events’ growing danger, many cities are taking action to stop sideshows from popping up. 

What happens if you’re caught at a street takeover? 

You will get ticketed or even arrested in many cities if caught driving recklessly. In California, your car can even be impounded for a time. However, according to CarScoops, in the city of Pico Rivera, people have had enough and had a meeting last week to do something about it. 

As of May 10, the city of Pico Rivera tentatively approved an ordinance that, if passed, would allow the authorities to seize cars caught in street takeovers for good. The ordinance would also make even attending one of these events a misdemeanor. 

“This proposed ordinance and enforcement options will provide the City with additional tools to address the issue of illegal street takeovers, deter such activities, and ensure that the roadways in Pico Rivera remain safe for everyone,” Councilman John Garcia said in a statement, to the Whittier Daily News.

How can cities stop street takeovers?

Cities nationwide have struggled to deal with these takeovers and street racers. The problem with this crime is the perpetrators are easily lost in the chaos. These events can have hundreds of people and cars, making finding certain people quite difficult. The only way forward seems to be disincentivizing people from participating or even spectating. 

“By taking action, we are sending a strong message that illegal street takeovers will not be tolerated in Pico Rivera and that the safety and well-being of its residents and visitors are paramount to the City Council.” According to CarScoops, voting on the ordinance will come up again at a future meeting though the time and date of that meeting have not been set. The City Manager, Steve Carmona, says it could take up to 30 days before another vote. 

While this is the harshest punishment yet, Florida also recently made these events and street racing a crime punishable with jail time instead of simply giving citations, like other traffic violations.