A new law went into effect on Jan. 1 that prohibits cities and counties from adopting laws that ban cruising on city streets.
EAST LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- A parade of classic lowriders slowly cruised down Whittier Boulevard in East Los Angeles on New Year's Day as drivers celebrated the beginning of a new chapter for the California car scene.
A new law went into effect on Jan. 1 that prohibits cities and counties from adopting laws that ban cruising on city streets, giving car lovers the OK to stroll in their customized cars.
"It is a different time. We no longer fall into the stereotypes of what a lowrider is. What a lowrider is? It's us," said Tomas Requejo, a local attorney and lowrider enthusiast who worked to reverse the cruising ban.
Several car clubs gathered for a celebration as the sign that read "No cruising" was taken down.
"It's very important to me because it means I don't have to worry about that for my son, who has a beautiful '54 Chevy, or anybody else's son or daughters," said Requejo.
The 1979 movie "Boulevard Nights" helped introduce low riding and cruising to the world. It shows young Latino drivers cruising along the streets, displaying their modified cars, as a way to meet up with other car fanatics.
"I always say those were the wonder years," said Vidal Herrera, a member of the Los Angeles Lowrider Alliance. "Mainly Sunday night on Whittier Boulevard. It was just a spectacle to see, everybody was here. There was never any trouble."
Cruising was curbed starting in late 1970s amid rising violence and stereotypes about the culture. The Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department, which once led the charge to close streets, is now working with car clubs to ensure the roads are open and safe.
"Getting this back, it shows a little bit of trust in us," said Miguel Torres with Imperials Car Club. "Let us keep the trust open, you know, with the merchants, the people out here, the community especially. Letting them know that we're not here to cause problems or trouble."
While young Latino men popularized low riding, women also had a hand in helping the culture develop.
"It's like a hobby," said Pat Saldana with Vintage Ladies Car Club. "Everybody has their likings of different things, but we like low riding, showing our cars, and what we have. Everybody has their own style and taste."
In the years following cruising bans, car clubs gathered at car shows, but the lifting of those restrictions has given the lowrider community their traditional avenue to gather once again.