Sideshow spectators can be fined $1,000 in Fairfield

A new city ordinance on sideshow spectators takes effect Wednesday in the city of Fairfield: Spectators are not allowed to watch.

The Fairfield ordinance prohibits knowingly being a spectator at a sideshow, speed contest or exhibition of speed, or, at a place where preparations are being made for sideshows. The ordinance sets a 200-foot distance requirement around the sideshow to be applicable as sometimes innocent motorists can be stuck in the traffic caused by these events. 

And the law applies to drivers, passengers, and pedestrians.

Police added that a violation of the ordinance is a misdemeanor punishable by six months in jail or a $1,000 fine. It also gives the Solano County District Attorney's Office the discretion to prosecute the offense as an infraction.   

MORE: Oakland leaders grapple with how to crack down on illegal sideshows, where 2 were shot

A week ago in nearby Vallejo, the police chief called the sideshows there "street terrorism." And the council voted 7-0 to also start citing spectators as well as people who promote or encourage the illegal stunts. Fines can also reach up to $1,000. 

Vallejo modeled its crackdown after ordinances in San Jose, Los Angeles and San Diego, which have seen a reduction in crowd size.

Sideshows are a stubborn and growing problem for law enforcement across the Bay Area.

They have been the scene of shootings and assaults, and serious injury when people are hit by out-of-control vehicles.