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County Administrator's Office

For Immediate Release

Sonoma County outlaws sideshow driving exhibitions

SANTA ROSA, CA | December 06, 2023

Promoting, watching and participating in street races and reckless driving exhibitions, also known as sideshows, will soon be unlawful in unincorporated areas of Sonoma County following Tuesday’s approval by the Board of Supervisors of Sheriff’s Office recommendations to prohibit and discourage the dangerous events.

“These types of events, which have become more common across the Bay Area recently, create an unsafe environment often causing damage to vehicles and property, reducing air quality due to burning rubber, and producing noise pollution and litter,” said Sonoma County Sheriff Eddie Engram. “Sideshows are becoming more violent and disruptive with participants displaying riotous behavior and throwing rocks and bottles at law enforcement.”

The ordinance, which will take effect 30 days after the second reading on Dec. 12, prohibits participating, spectating or promoting illegal sideshows, street races and reckless driving exhibitions on public streets, highways and off-street parking facilities in the unincorporated area of Sonoma County.

“We will not tolerate activities such as sideshows that create dangerous conditions and disturb the peace of our neighborhoods,” said Supervisor Chris Coursey, chair of the Sonoma County Board of Supervisors. “This ordinance will give our Sheriff’s Office the tools they need to get tough on the organizers and participants of these events and eliminate sideshows from our community.”

Violators are subject to a maximum of six months in jail and a fine of $1,000 and are responsible for property damage. Sonoma County’s sideshow ordinance aligns with similar ordinances in Santa Rosa, Rohnert Park and Windsor, and proposed ordinances in Petaluma, Sonoma and Cotati.

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Media Contact:
Matt Brown, Communications Specialist
(707) 565-3040
575 Administration Drive, Suite 104A
Santa Rosa, CA 95403