The Chainlink

'Biking while black': Chicago minority areas see the most bike tickets

Okay as the article points out there are lots of potential explanations for this but not a single North side area listed in the top ticked areas?

As Chicago police ramp up their ticketing of bicyclists, more than twice as many citations are being written in African-American communities than in white or Latino areas, a Tribune review of police statistics has found.

The top 10 community areas for bike tickets from 2008 to Sept. 22, 2016, include seven that are majority African-American and three that are majority Latino. From the areas with the most tickets written to the least, they are Austin, North Lawndale, Humboldt Park, South Lawndale, Chicago Lawn, West Englewood, Roseland, West Garfield Park, New City and South Chicago.

Not a single majority-white area ranked in the top 10, despite biking's popularity in white areas such as West Town and Lincoln Park."

Read full article at the Tribune site...

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The CPD officer who shared that perspective about drug dealing and probable cause did so because he wants people to know how wrong and racist this is. 

That's great ( I was referring to a poster here, unless the site is being wonky/I'm an idiot & just can't see it). There are cops out there who fully understand how terrible the system is & want to change it, these guys have been active for a long time:

In 2002, five police officers founded Law Enforcement Against Prohibition, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit composed of police and other criminal justice professionals dedicated to educating the public about the harms of drug prohibition. In January 2017, while reaffirming our commitment to ending the War on Drugs, LEAP became the Law Enforcement Action Partnership in order to advocate for solutions across a broader range of drug policy and criminal justice issues.

Right. In my posts I'm just trying to give some context around "probable cause."  They don't have probable cause to assume somebody is a drug dealer because they are biking on the sidewalk.  It is harassment.

Really appreciating the thoughtful discussion, opinions, and insights as I've been following this thread. Disappointed is an understatement to what I'm thinking and feeling. Just as I don't like the "war on drugs", I don't like bike tickets being targeted to areas that need more bike lanes and support for cyclists. We should be encouraging more people to ride bikes, not less. And if someone is riding their bike on the sidewalk, that's an opportunity to find out why. I've used the sidewalks in a pinch on sections that I didn't feel safe on the road but got forced to ride for a few blocks e.g. Ashland, Western, Irving Park. Otherwise, I'd much rather be on the street. I believe this is why 99% of the cyclists use a sidewalk on rare occasion. And just like other cyclists, pedestrian safety is my number one priority when sharing a sidewalk.

Another perspective -

The "poor" black areas contain far more people for whom the bicycle is their only transport. They ride to work, to the store, to the train, to the post office . . . .

The "wealthy" white neighborhoods might have bicycles, but a large number of these are strictly leisure, that are ridden down a dedicated bike path on a Sunday afternoon. For these guys, a trip to the store means getting the RV out of the garage.

When was the last time you saw a white person on a bicycle outside Walmart or Home Depot?

Or taking their kid to school?

The leisure cyclists are pretty much hidden from police view, as they are not out there on the roads, as they might even drive to the bike path with their bike on the car roof. They re not going to be seen on regular roads, coming home from work late, at night, they use their cars for utility travel.

I was biking to school in the early/mid 80s, and as I got older and ended up working downtown I moved closer to Elston as it was such a well traveled bike route (I think it may be one of the first streets that received bike lane striping). With a kid I am now doing CTA and a Divvy (or walking), but I assure you there are an incredible number of North Siders that commute to work by bike. A good map to visualize:

This is not going to include people using bikes for errands, but in my experience people who bike to work tend to use their bike for other trips as well.

Wow.  Another racist perspective.  Here's a fact.  MOST Black neighborhoods aren't poor.  We're only portrayed as poor to distract you from the rich oligarchs that are looting your middle-class construct.  That poor = Black, while wealthy = White is probably the most racist comment on this thread.  

Here's another fact, Jane.  "Poor" black people don't ride bikes.  They don't ride to work, to the store, to the train, to the post office (the post office?)  We are not dark-skinned white people.  These are things white people do.  We are a vibrant culture you know nothing about.  You only know stereotypes you've been fed.

Here's another fact, Jane.  I don't keep up with my stereotypes, but you might want to actually check out the Walmart demographics.  They've got a majority white customer base.  They wouldn't even come to our neighborhoods until after they saturated all of yours.  AND, I've been Black a long time.  I have NEVER EVER seen a Black person ride a bike to a Walmart.  If you had two Black friends, they would have stopped you from saying something so ridiculous.

Here's another fact, Jane:  THE MAJORITY OF CHICAGO'S BLACK CYCLISTS ARE LEISURE CYCLISTS.  We would be "pretty much hidden from police view" too, if it weren't for our melanin.

Let me a non-supremacist perspective Jane, we get the majority of the bicycle tickets because we are Black.  Because the city is broke.  If they ticketed White people like they ticketed us, there would be hell to pay.  But they count on people like you.  You've been institutionalized to believe you are civilized and we are not.  The fact that you wrote those comments tell me a lot about you. Keep telling yourself you're awesome.  

This morning, I saw not one, not two, but three separate "Lakefront Lance" types biking the wrong way down Milwaukee.

Weird behavior IMO.

Weird is a polite way to describe that... There is never an excuse for that any more than there is for driving on the wrong side of the road, especially not a crazy and congested street like Milwaukee.

I almost said something when, between Grand and Hubbard, one of the Lances crossed over from biking south in the northbound lane to join me biking south in the southbound lane. But I decided, no reason to create the potential for confrontation.

That's the smart move IMO, as you really aren't going to change anyone's mindset (generally very fixed) in the few seconds you have to interact, as they're going to be concentrating on the road conditions and whatever they are doing at their destination.

I speak/yell only when it's an immediate safety issue - so a guy biking towards me on my side of the street is definitely going to get an earful. The worst thing about those riders is not only are they going the wrong direction, but as often as not their first instinct is to push you into traffic while they hug the parking lane.

That's definitely the most annoying. My position in that situation is to stand firm, even stop if necessary. It's not worth risking your own life by moving blindly into oncoming traffic just to "avoid" someone biking the wrong way in the bike lane.


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