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...

Views: 3121

Reply to This

Replies to This Discussion

In past news stories, the city claimed they put in just as many miles of bike lanes on the South and West Sides as on the North Side. I think the difference is that bike lanes on busy streets encourage white people to get on a bike and ride in the bike lane, but I don't think it encourages minorities to ride. Look at the graph of bicycle commuters in the news story. Lots and lots on the north side and Loop. Then there's concentrations in the west side's University/Hospital area, Hyde Park and near Midway, but that's it. As I said before, the best way to get people to ride is education and low-stress neighborhood greenways.

There are a lot more miles of streets on the south side, so it takes a lot more miles of bike lanes to create a solid network of routes. We've made progress, but there are still a lot of gaps in that network, especially in lower density areas.

Blacks and hispanics are much more likely to ride on the sidewalk and on the wrong side of the road. I see it a lot as I ride through the west side. Once I even saw someone riding the wrong way down Chicago Avenue, laser-focused on following the curb, but not looking too far ahead. When they encountered a parked car, they would ride around it very closely. Boy were they surprised when they came around the car and saw me traveling towards them!

Bike lanes won't work. They'll just ride the wrong way in the bike lane, or stay on the sidewalk. First and foremost, we need to educate citizens on how to ride a bike, and also inform people that riding incorrectly gives police an excuse to stop you.

I was also amused that that someone asked for bike lanes on Stony Island Avenue (again). The only ones who'd use bike lanes on Stony Island would be the lycra speed freaks. Ordinary bike riders won't use them. They'll still ride on the sidewalk. Why take Stony Island anyway? Low-stress neighborhood streets are better. Try Kenwood/Dorchester/Dante, Woodlawn/Greenwood, Yates, etc.

What is the advantage of riding on sidewalks except on very crowded streets? Don't you have to go slower?  And why would this be more prevalent in minority neighborhoods like you suggest?

Truly curious about these issues. Not implying anything about your assessment.

In places where there is FAST car traffic and not a lot of traffic density, people often ride on the sidewalk because they feel that they'll get killed if they're riding out in the traffic lane with that fast traffic. 

People who feel more confident riding in traffic are usually people who can ride faster. If your normal riding speed is slow, riding on the sidewalk isn't necessarily much of a hindrance. Just my $0.02 from observations and conversations on the south and west sides. Your mileage may vary.

I see a fair amount of sidewalk riding in my (west side) neighborhood, and it's usually older men who are slowly cruising, like slo-o-o-owly! To be honest, if this is these guy's max speed I'd just as soon they weren't in the street either. My only concern is for their safety at intersections. Teenagers zipping by on new fixies is a different story: there I figure they grew up riding on sidewalks and their friends haven't set them straight yet... This is all speculation, though, sad to say. Speaking from experience, I grew up in the burbs and rode against traffic for a long time until I came to the city and a series of close calls at intersections set me straight. I can totally sympathize with folks for whom constantly being passed seems counter-intuitive, not to say terrifying. That it's statistically the wiser choice doesn't completely alleviate the terror of knowing some meth-head might be barreling towards you, or some psycho might be pulling a u-turn in order to run you over. Which is just to say I get why it's a hard habit to change.

Yes. Before I started biking in 2011 I was completely terrified of the prospect. I understand why people are scared to bike with traffic.

They obviously think sidewalk riding is the way to ride a bike. And they are slow. Cops don't care. It's still 'breaking the law'. In the Trib news story, the guy they cited (so they could see if he had any outstanding warrants) was stopped at the time, and outside his home.

I'd suggest to the sidewalk riders - take the alley, then ride to the intersection closest to whatever store they want to visit.

There are many sections of the grid where Stony Island offers a much more direct route. Also, there are a lot of businesses on Stony Island that are potential destinations for people on bikes.

I commute to the Loop from the South Side every day.  A very large majority of the wrong way cyclists I see are white men.

The only time I saw a lot of whites wrong-way riding was last year on Orchard. But maybe they did that because of construction on Halsted? I'll see what happens this year when the weather warms up.

Just yesterday I saw 2 wrongway riders, both on the West Side - one on a one-way residential street, and another on Division.

I have not weighed in on this forum because I do not see this a a bike related issue. It is an issue but it is a city issue, a societal issue a black/white issue.  Bicycles are simply the means for police contact in these cases but the issue is much wider than bicycles.  It is about disparate treatment and how people of color are more likely to encounter the authorities than white people. (i will not get into what happens in those encounters and how the outcomes differ across racial lines. We have all ready and seen plenty of this.) I am saddened that this treatment and this pattern is persistent and that we live in a world and in a  city that is far from post-racial.  As such, I am not surprised that bicycle riding merely reflects these same issues.  i am saddened but not surprised. The same privilege improperly granted to me because of my skin color that applies when I walk the street and drive a car follows me when I ride a bike. If I see an obstacle I safely ride around it and that may include a brief interlude on a sidewalk.  I give little thought to the authorities because I have rationalized that i have done the right thing and the safe thing.  A person with darker skin than me may not think the same way because he or she does not pedal as freely as i do. This should not be...but it is. The question of what to do about it seems broader than this forum but is valid, should be asked and should invite real discussion.


© 2008-2016   The Chainlink Community, L.L.C.   Powered by

Disclaimer  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service