Police crackdown on racing negatively impacts Cinco de Mayo cruising tradition

Local News

DENVER (KDVR) — Cruising along South Federal Boulevard in Denver is a Cinco de Mayo tradition. Car enthusiasts fear it could become history as police continue their efforts to crackdown on street racing.

Street racing and cruising are two different activities. Street racing is illegal. Cruising is allowed in Denver. Police have occasionally narrowed Federal to one lane in each direction to deter street racing. This also deters cruising. Police said they’re ready for Cinco de Mayo lane closures.

“If you get on Federal, you’re going to be in a traffic jam,” said Sam Henry of Sam’s Kustom Hydraulics.

Over the years, especially on Cinco de Mayo, the lowriders have been on display. Henry has been cruising, showing off his cars since 1978. But the times are changing. Cinco de Mayo along Federal isn’t what it used to be, he said.

“If you’re talking about large crowds, the last few years … they really dropped quite a bit,” Henry said.

Critics argue cruising can devolve into street racing. Police say racing is a growing problem. On-and-off-again Federal lane closures have slowed traffic. The closures have also allowed space for emergency vehicles. Police have been meeting with people like Sam to find solutions.

“It’s just not the same anymore,” said lowrider car owner Jason Rael.

Rael said when activity slows on Federal, the lowriders and other custom cars show up elsewhere.

“We’re not going to stop,” Rael said.

West 38th Avenue and Downtown Denver are becoming popular alternatives, drivers said.

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