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Cruising in Crystal Lake

American Government Special Collections Reference Desk

McHenry County, Illinois

Cruising in Crystal Lake

Gus Philpott
Woodstock Advocate
March 31, 2008

No Cruising Sign

Remember all the flap in Crystal Lake about 5-6 years ago, when people were upset with the cruisers on Northwest Highway; you know, Highway 14? Crystal Lake decided to put a stop to it, and the City Council enacted an anti-cruising ordinance.

Cruising is defined by Crystal Lake as "Driving a motor vehicle past a traffic control point in the designated area more than twice in any two-hour period between the hours of 7:00 p.m. and 5:00 a.m. Passing a designated control point a third time under the aforesaid conditions shall constitute unnecessary repetitive driving and cruising."

Would this include taxis? How about police cars on patrol?

How successful was it? They wrote two tickets the first year, and I don't think they have written any tickets since.

Is this law needed? Is it even constitutional? That was my first thought. It's a public road. It's a State highway. Road taxes on fuel support public roads. Would a driver really mount a constitutional defense to a ticket that might only have a $50 fine? Who is to say that such driving is "unnecessary"? That's probably a constitutionally vague term. Unnecessary in the opinion of whom?

Did the threat of a ticket or intimidation eliminate the problem? Is that how laws are supposed to work?

Do you think anyone sees these few signs any longer or, if they do, do they really know what the law is?

A 30MPH sign is clear. A No-Passing sign is clear. But an undefined sign about cruising?

The law should be repealed and the signs should come down.

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