Surfers aren’t the only ones affected by overnight parking bans. Photo: David W Meyer//Unsplash

It goes without saying that the closer we get you can park at the surf, the better, and when it’s rent-free? You know the rest of this story. We all do, because motorhomes and surfing go together like, well, summer and longboarding. It’s a story as old as time: people want to surf, and they want to do it as much as possible and for as long as possible. And they could, until California state officials recently stepped in.

Historically, Volkswagen produced what we consider today to be the first motorhomes. Originally called Volkswagen Type II, as VW Beetle were already in production, the release of the Type II in the late 1960s was a moment like no other. Throughout the decade, surf culture rapidly grew in popularity, much to the chagrin of core surfers. Still, improvements to the VW van only allowed surfers of all backgrounds to enjoy more surf trips and lives built around the waves.

And build around the waves that people have made. Nearly 70 years later, surf culture seems to have completely embraced vanlife. With newer, better options, like the Mercedes Sprinter van and the Ford Transit, more and more people are switching from renting to owning vans instead of owning houses. And while high costs are a barrier for many, some people get creative and design their own DIY conversion pickup truck configurations.

Drive along the PCH and you will see people camping on the side of the rocky road, sometimes enjoying the sunset in folding chairs or hammocks. For the most part, vanlifers are gentle, calm, and low-key to the general public.

However, California officials don’t seem thrilled about the vanlife, and the seemingly harmless act of sleeping in one’s car is considered a felony in some places. For now, there is no overnight parking permitted in any LA County operated beach parking lot. Santa Cruz is currently working on prohibit overnight parkingand Malibu tries to prohibit overnight parking on the PCHand LA reimposed a ban on sleeping in residential streets.

Why? Reasons given include decongestion of streets, elimination of excessive noise, cleanliness of cities and removal of the homeless population from public spaces. But overnight parking bans don’t make the homeless population go away, and they cause unnecessary problems for surfers and vanlifers, which don’t necessarily raise the same safety issues. Weekend campers come in and take out the trash. Vanlifers tend to have their own methods of waste disposal. And surfers sleep rough to surf. Surfers don’t want to be on the street as much as landlords don’t want them there. Surfers want to be, well, surfer.

It’s true: LA has a growing number of homeless people and shelters crisis, and many people would rather not live next to an RV. But banning people from sleeping in their cars doesn’t solve the problem – in fact, the ban only makes things worse.

Because people who sleep in their cars full time do so because they have no other options, eliminating car living as an option only moves, not removes, people from spaces. public. Where are these people suddenly going to go? At best, a designated secure car park. At worst, a residential area or another more intrusive area. Banning overnight parking in public places is a lose-lose for everyone.

Mel Tillekeratne, Executive Director of The Shower of Hope, declared that a law prohibiting overnight parking”will directly contribute to these people being on the streets. And people camping in tents or sleeping bags are surely less hygienic than camping out of a vehicle.

While parking bans severely and negatively affect homeless populations, they also affect regular campers. Surfers are already struggling find legal places to camp on the California coast. Campsites are booked months in advance, beach camping is irrelevant, and it goes without saying that California real estate remains the the most valuable in the country.

There is a big difference between spending one or two nights parked somewhere and permanently residing there. A parking ban designed to remove permanent residents from the streets displaces people without options, but it also prevents harmless campers from taking advantage of a public parking space for one or two nights.

Plus, banning people from living out of their vehicles and enjoying California’s natural beauty is a slap in the face for taxpayers who can’t afford beachfront property but still pay to live in the ocean. State. Should California Really Close Exits? People pay to enjoy natural beauty. They shouldn’t have to live in a mansion to do that.

Vanlife offers some relief to those rising cost of living. In Santa Cruz, a vanlifer told me he turned to the road because he was pay $500 per month for a shared room in a building infested with rats. For those determined to live by the ocean, sometimes sacrifices have to be made. And if people are willing to give up having a House to surf, they should at least be allowed to sleep in their van.

To eliminate bias, we can test this prohibition through philosophical theory. Utilitarianism asserts that actions are right as long as they maximize the happiness of the greatest number of people. Many people enjoy car camping by the ocean. Most of these people are harmless. Some residents may be bothered by overnight parking. But why does California ban overnight parking when it benefits the many and only embarrasses a few who are already wealthy enough to live in a house by the ocean?

Vanlife offers simplicity: proximity to surfing, cheap living conditions, more autonomy than renting and the daily possibility of travelling. Vanlife also offers the ability to optimize sailing time and minimize virtually everything else. And the vanlife benefits the greatest number. But when street parking becomes as problematic as ordinary housing, the state will face even greater problems.