Organizer cited for chaotic and unauthorized Santa Cruz Ride Out – Santa Cruz Sentinel
SANTA CRUZ – More than 5,000 cyclists affected traffic and endangered residents as they traveled to Santa Cruz on Saturday for the Santa Cruz Ride Out.
Cyclists started at Capitola Road and 41st Avenue in Capitola and rode through Santa Cruz, according to a virtual promotional flyer for the event. Crowds of cyclists made up of a mix of small children, teens and other BMX enthusiasts rode the streets of Santa Cruz, blocking traffic.
The Santa Cruz Police Department warned residents of the expected delays via a Facebook post on Saturday morning. However, traffic problems posed a threat to emergency services, according to Lt. Wes Morey of Santa Cruz.
“It created traffic jams everywhere. Ambulances, fire trucks and even for the police department, it was difficult to get around town because of the traffic jams and the problems they caused, ”he said. “When you have 5,000 people on the roads like that, it’s going to create traffic jams.”
Police have received reports of cyclists hitting cars and people as they pass. This could be the result of frustration over the prolonged blockade of traffic by bikers, Morey noted.
“People in the cars start to get frustrated as they sit there waiting for these cyclists to pass, sitting there for half an hour,” Morey said. “They’re going to start honking at cyclists, and then cyclists go by and kick their car, or their car key, or try to break their window. This type of problem happened throughout the event.
Three separate accidents involving cars hitting bikers were also reported to police on Saturday. However, officers were unable to investigate the events as the cyclists had left the scene prior to their arrival.
This is usually due to the cause of the accident. In situations like this, the rider is at fault 90% of the time, Morey noted. Cyclists know this and will leave before the police arrive.
Visiting cyclists were not the only ones whose safety was threatened on Saturday. As cyclists passed through town, a man was assaulted. He was taken by ambulance to the Dominican hospital, according to Morey.
At the moment, the police are investigating and looking for leads. Investigators don’t know what triggered the event or if it was a random act of violence, Morey said.
“If they want to organize and run an event like this, they can get a permit, then we will have enough officers to protect the public and help these cyclists cross the streets safely,” Morey said. “Usually what happens is we find out (the event) the day before or two days before and it’s hard for us to have a group of officers there to help with that.”
Witnesses also reported large-scale shoplifting via social media at Safeway and Crow’s Nest Beach Market, but police were unable to confirm the crimes. Safeway and Beach Market did not immediately respond to Sentinel inquiries.
“We haven’t received any actual shoplifting reports,” Morey said. “They weren’t running there and stealing stuff. I saw people enter the Safeway and come out with bags. This was also the case with the beach market.
Authorities cited Santa Cruz resident Thomas Laughron, 54, for staging an unauthorized and unauthorized major event in violation of the Santa Cruz municipal code, according to a statement from the Santa Cruz County Sheriff’s Office. The initial fine for the violation is $ 110, but court costs and assessments could increase the fine to $ 750, according to City Attorney Tony Condotti.
If Laughron had used the correct channels to authorize his event, the authorization fee would have been much higher. The event would be classified as a complex event, according to Santa Cruz spokeswoman Elizabeth Smith. This would require several street closures, the full rental of Harvey West Park and traffic control by the police department.
A permit for the Santa Cruz Ride Out event would have been a minimum of $ 4,500, Smith added. Permit fees could be higher depending on the number of police officers required and the street closures required for public safety.
“We are also seeking to recover costs in a separate civil action,” Condotti said in a statement. “In terms of expenses, it’s unusual for a court to order restitution for an infringement violation, but it’s not unprecedented.”
The event promoter is responsible for all other criminal activity in connection with the event, Morey noted. Police and the Santa Cruz County District Attorney determine if Laughron is responsible for the alleged assault.
Police recommend obtaining a permit in the city well in advance to ensure that local agencies can provide the highest level of safety, including liability insurance, which has a coverage requirement of $ 1 million. dollars in Santa Cruz.
Morey recommended starting the authorization process as soon as the event is scheduled. The city requires a minimum of 60 days before the event. However, Morey noted that the city lacks the capacity to facilitate an event of this scale and would have to draw resources from neighboring municipalities.
“Even though we knew it in advance, it’s still difficult to make this type of event safe for the community,” said Morey. “Still, we wouldn’t have enough officers to cope with the type of full-scale bike ride.”