An ordinance targeting spectators at illegal race contestsor exhibitions of speed has been recommended for approval by the Public Safety and Health Committee.The intent of the legislation (file #180224), which advanced with a unanimous vote today, is to prevent illegal street racing and spectating of these illegal events, according to lead sponsor and committee member Alderwoman Chantia Lewis.
Ald. Lewis emphasizes this issue is not confined to a specific group in the community or location. “Street racing is a definite problem in my district due to its large, open roadways but this dangerous activity is occurring in multiple parts of the city,” she said. “And the people watching it range from youths to adults and come from a variety of ethnic backgrounds.”
The measure also prohibits the spectating of race preparation. Preparation includes arriving with a group at a predetermined location, impeding the free use of a roadway verbally or physically, as well as revving up and spinning tires prior to a race.
“Crowds gathering to watch this illegal activity only encourages the racing, so we need to discourage the spectating in the first place,” Alderwoman Lewis said.
Ald. Lewis says popular culture is contributing to drag racing’s popularity, citing a hit movie franchise and social media allowing street race footage to be shared.
Under the resolution, spectating fines will range from $20 to $400, together with the costs of prosecution.
The legislation will now go before the full Common Council when it meets at 9 a.m. on Wednesday, May 30 in the third floor Common Council Chamber at City Hall, 200 E. Wells St.