OC To Implement Special Event Zone Starting Tuesday For Cruisin

OCEAN CITY — With the arrival of the spring Cruisin event next week, town officials are reminding residents and visitors the special event zone with reduced speed limits and enhanced penalties will be in place.

The spring Cruisin event represents the first significant motorized special event of the season. The special event zone will be implemented starting next Tuesday and will remain in place through next Sunday.

The special event zone, first created by state legislation in 2018 and enhanced by state lawmakers in 2020, reduces established speed limits and enhances penalties for many violations during certain motorized special events. The bill had its genesis following a particularly troublesome unsanctioned pop-up motorized special event, but it is implemented during other sanctioned motorized events including the spring and fall Cruisin events.

The Cruisin events are decidedly tamer then the unsanctioned pop-up event, but the special event zone is implemented nonetheless. The special event zone, with its enhanced penalties and stricter enforcement is not implemented during certain other motorized events, such as Bike Week, for example.

With thousands of classic car enthusiasts expected to come to Ocean City next week, the special event zone will be implemented starting Tuesday. Speed limits will be reduced, including 30 mph on Coastal Highway, and fines and penalties for violations will be enhanced.

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As in most cases with the motorized events, the registered participants are generally compliant and simply want to show off their vehicles at the various events, shows and other activities. However, the classic car Cruisin events also attract a certain number of hangers-on, who are less likely to participate in the various events and comply with all of the enhanced rules of the road.

Participants, visitors and residents should expect to see a significant police presence throughout the implementation of the special event zone next week, with officers from multiple allied agencies assisting the Ocean City Police Department (OCPD). The OCPD, the Maryland State Police and the Worcester County Sheriff’s Office will strictly enforce all of the enhanced traffic laws. In addition, significant traffic congestion and alternate traffic patterns will be implemented during peak times during the event.

The Cruisin event organizers in recent years have created other event-related activities in different areas of the county in an attempt to spread out the event and relieve some of the congestion along Coastal Highway. For example, in addition to the usual car display shows, there will be concerts, a neon light show and other activities to keep participants occupied and off the highway to some degree.

Registered participants will receive a window display card reminding them the special event zone and all of the reduced speed limits and other enhanced violations are in place. Last year, local and state officials agreed to extend the special event zone to other highways and roads around the north end of the county where participants and hangers-on tend to travel during the event.

During the special event zone next week, spectators and urged to keep the sidewalks clear for pedestrian traffic, and should not urge or incite the spinning of wheels, burnouts or other illicit activities. Officers will strictly enforce all laws regarding spectators who incite drivers to commit violations.

About The Author: Shawn Soper

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Shawn Soper has been with The Dispatch since 2000. He began as a staff writer covering various local government beats and general stories. His current positions include managing editor and sports editor. Growing up in Baltimore before moving to Ocean City full time three decades ago, Soper graduated from Loch Raven High School in 1981 and from Towson University in 1985 with degrees in mass communications with a journalism concentration and history.