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: 3070

Reply to This

Replies to This Discussion

Well that's all that matters, right?  I was born and raised on the South side, walking distance from that area.   I have lived here all of my life.  But please explain to everyone how we live.  Your opinion matters SO MUCH MORE than mine does in this city.  Are these cyclists you see drug dealers?  Are they worthy of the vast majority of tickets?  

I wouldn't call these integrated neighborhoods because a few white people live here.  But your perspective will always trump mine, because you know...

No, my perspective doesn't trump yours. It's simply another observation on people living and riding on the south side. I don't think that anyone's perspective trumps anyone else's here. It's an open forum and we all have the right to speak. 

I observe regular people riding for transportation - on 95th St and elsewhere on the south side. I observe also affluent people of color riding high end bikes for recreation. It's a broad spectrum, same as it it is for white people.

People of color do NOT deserve to get the vast majority of tickets. They deserve equal treatment.

I wonder what effect the attitude of the population in a ward has on how many tickets are issued to cyclists.  In wards that are less supportive of cycling, is this enforcement more desired?  I know in my ward, where cycling is popular and the alderman strongly supports cycling infra, there would be a lot of pushback against excessive enforcement.  What's the atmosphere in the south and west side wards where so many tickets have been issued?

I'm not certain how the alderman on the west side feel about biking, but I do know that the alderman of the 5th ward on the south side has made a comment in the past stating that "black people don't bike". This comment was made during an attempt to place bike lanes on Stony Island Ave.

Take a look at City of Chicago bike lane map and you will see the disparity in the number and mileage of bikes lanes, Why is that? In my opinion if we had the biking infrastructure that exits on the north side, the number of bicyclists will increase ("build it and they will come"), but no, the tax dollars that come from the black communities are used to build up the infrastructure on the north side.  

Here's a link to a followup to the Chicago Tribune article about "Riding While Black".

Thank you for sharing this.

Streetsblog critique of the Trib's recent "ticket cyclists everywhere!" editorial:

So glad for the Streetsblog write-up on this issue. Spot on.

And if we’re talking about protecting pedestrians and cyclists in Chicago, the idea of taking the police department’s unfair zero-tolerance approach towards bike infractions in black neighborhoods and making it citywide is completely wrongheaded. While no one has ever been fatally struck by a cyclist in Chicago, motorists kill over 100 people a year in this city.

And while the Tribune is correct that the six bike fatalities in Chicago last year were six too many, most of the cases didn’t involve infractions by cyclists. However, in all five of the crashes that involved a motorist, there’s evidence that the driver was breaking the law. It’s clear that Chicago doesn’t need more ticketing of bike infractions – we need a crackdown on reckless driving.

How much of the cyclist behavior they are targeting is directly related to actual or perceived threats from drivers who speed, cut off cyclists, block bike lanes, etc.? A LOT. We need a CITYWIDE crackdown on reckless driving starting NOW.


IMO driving cultural norms started going to hell in a handbasket when (to save money, of course) the City went from having CPD do traffic management to using traffic management aides. The lack of street traffic enforcement followed.

This is going to take politicians who have spines - something we are often short of in Chicago.

I agree. The decisions about where to install bike lanes needs to be taken out of the hands of the aldermen. 

Waymond - I have heard similar frustration expressed by many black friends living in south side wards, especially the 5th and 9th. 



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

Disclaimer  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service