Fiesta may be two weeks away, but Santa Barbara police are already warning participants in the annual Fiesta Cruiser Run — an ad hoc and decidedly anarchistic celebration of two-wheeled fun now entering its 35th year — that they’ll be putting extra cops on patrol and that they’ll be writing tickets.
What started off as a low-key and slightly inebriated Sunday beach cruiser ride from Stearns Wharf to Isla Vista and back as a cap on Fiesta festivities last year grew to as many as 3,000 riders who backed up traffic on State Street for as long as 10 minutes. The event has achieved critical mass and this is the second year in a row that the gendarmerie are putting extra officers on the street in response.
Coming as it does at the tail end of Fiesta, many in law enforcement have already accumulated a significant number of overtime hours, so posting extra numbers poses logistical challenges. Last year, the police department assigned 10-15 officers to the Cruiser Run; this year, that number will be closer to 20. Tickets for cyclists running red lights are $500 and $197 for blowing through stop signs.