Tire tracks were visible at Mission and Ruth streets after a sideshow in the area on Sept. 7 that ended in a fatal shooting. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)

Tire tracks were visible at Mission and Ruth streets after a sideshow in the area on Sept. 7 that ended in a fatal shooting. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)

Supes pass legislation to increase penalties for sideshow drivers

San Francisco is clamping down on the dangerous sideshow driving craze that has led to deadly violence and increasingly kept families up at night during the pandemic.

The Board of Supervisors unanimously approved legislation Tuesday from Supervisor Ahsha Safai to increase towing penalties for drivers caught recklessly burning rubber on city streets.

Drivers busted for engaging in sideshows will have their cars impounded for a minimum of two weeks for their first offense or as long as nearly a month for repeat offenses.

“This is not a phenomenon that is new to the Bay Area, it’s not new to San Francisco. But it’s something that under Covid has grown extremely out of control,” Safai said. “We are trying to send a message that we are not going to tolerate this in San Francisco any longer.”

There have been more than 2,043 calls to police over sideshows since the beginning of 2020, according to Police Chief Bill Scott. The stunt-driving events have also resulted in 61 incident reports being generated, 613 officers responding, nine vehicles being towed and 17 arrests.

Sideshows have also resulted in shots being fired in nine incidents, one homicide, four collisions, one pedestrian being hit and one aggravated assault, Scott said.

“There are laws existing that deal with reckless driving that are on the books,” Scott said. “What this legislation is really meant to do is re-enforce and re-emphasize.”

The legislation was unanimously approved despite Supervisor Dean Preston raising questions about whether it was needed when state law already allows police to impound vehicles.

“There is a lot of discretion in the state code, it allows for it to be as little as one day or even an afternoon,” Safai said. “We are enhancing the penalties.”

Supervisor Sandra Fewer said she was in North Beach over the weekend when she noticed street racing on Columbus Avenue. She has also seen “extreme” driving in the Richmond District.

“We have to be firm on this because it is so dangerous not just for residents but because someone going 100 miles an hour just crashed into a building and actually died of his injuries,” Fewer said.

While supported by all members of the board, former Supervisor John Avalos has criticized the legislation.

Avalos, who is challenging Safai in the November election, recently tweeted that “I don’t trust the police to effectively stop donuts with enforcement action.”

“For those who do insist on doing side shows and endangering our communities I believe they should be held accountable under a restorative justice framework — impounding a car and requiring public service for the release of the car would be appropriate,” Avalos said.

mbarba@sfexaminer.com

Bay Area NewsCrimePoliticssan francisco news

If you find our journalism valuable and relevant, please consider joining our Examiner membership program.
Find out more at www.sfexaminer.com/join/

Just Posted

Charles Joseph, who is represented by the San Francisco Public Defender’s office, is facing deportation to Fiji. <ins>(Courtesy photo)</ins>
Giving immigrants a second chance after incarceration

Legislation would allow some faced with deportation a chance to challenge their old convictions

The San Francisco Police Department released body camera footage of the alleged assault on Dacari Spiers. (Via SFPD Body Cam)
SF police officer to stand trial for assault over baton beating

A San Francisco police officer who prosecutors say unnecessarily beat a man… Continue reading

Mayor London Breed announced The City’s return to the red tier for COVID-19 precautions at Pier 39 on Tuesday<ins>, March 2, 2021</ins>. <ins>(Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)</ins>
San Francisco enters red COVID tier, indoor dining to resume

Museums and gyms can reopen with capacity limits

Cole Odin Berggren, community programs director and drum and DJ instructor at Blue Bear School of Music in The City, holds a JackTrip device, which he says has greatly improved students’ experience of making music online. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)
COVID-era musicians beginning to make connections

Software eliminates pesky delay plaguing most systems

Under the new plan, Twin Peaks Boulevard would be reserved exclusively for pedestrians and cyclists until Christmas Tree Point.	(Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)
SFMTA board approves new plan for Twin Peaks Boulevard

Cuts vehicle-free space by half. Neighbors say crime, vandalism will still abound

Most Read