After terrorist attacks using vehicles, barriers will bring more security to Rose Bowl game and parade


The four-door sedan, weighing more than 3,000 pounds, is traveling 30 mph when it hits a line of metal barriers. The car lifts off the ground, debris flies everywhere and when it’s over the front side of the car is smashed in. The minute-long video clip is part of a test for anti-vehicle barriers meant to keep hundreds of people safe at the Rose Bowl game and Rose Parade.

The U.S.-made steel barriers — 3 feet tall, 2 feet wide and 700 pounds — are not only capable of stopping cars, trucks and other vehicles but also bulletproof.

Peter Whitford, chief executive of Meridian Rapid Defense Group, the company that created the barriers, said tmore than 400 of them would be used to close off 75 city blocks.

“It’s easy to rent a vehicle or a truck and run it into a crowd of people,” he said. “We as a company believe strongly in making people, communities and places safer.”

Nearly 800,000 people are expected to attend both events, which are organized by the Tournament of Roses Association, on New Years Day.


Whitford said protection from vehicles has become an important security issue for public events such as the Rose Parade. The need for such measures were underscored in July 2016 when a 19-ton cargo truck was deliberately driven into crowds celebrating Bastille Day on the Promenade des Anglais in Nice, France. Eighty-six people died and more than 400 were injured.

In 2017, a car drove into a crowd of people who had been protesting the Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville, Va.; one person was killed and more than 20 others were injured.

The 5 1/2-mile Rose Parade route along Colorado Boulevard in Pasadena will be swarmed not only by families and visitors from out of the state but also city law enforcement officers. The Pasadena Police Department has also partnered with state and federal law enforcement agencies, said Lt. Bill Grisafe.

Grisafe said people will be allowed to camp along Colorado Boulevard on Tuesday afternoon. Aside from emergency vehicles, no one will be allowed to travel along the street starting at 10 p.m. as it will be shut down. Additionally, drones will not be permitted to fly over the parade route or the football game.

“There is and will be a temporary flight restriction for both events,” Grisafe said, adding that people should check the FAA website for more information.

Tortillas, marshmallows and other items that in the past have been tossed at vehicles will not be allowed.

“This has been a problem for us every year,” Grisafe said.

More information about what is allowed and prohibited can be found on the city of Pasadena’s website.