The Chicago Police Department writes more than twice as many citations for biking violations in Black communities than other neighborhoods, the Chicago Tribune reports.
Majority-Black neighborhoods accounted for seven of the top 10 communities for bike tickets from 2008 to 2016. The other three neighborhoods are majority Hispanic.
Even though biking is popular in majority-White neighborhoods, none of them ranked among the top 10 ticketed areas.
In an eight-month span last year, officers issued 321 bike tickets in the low-income community of Austin but just five in the White, wealthy Lincoln Park community.
“Biking while Black,” is how attorney Brendan Kevenides described the situation to the newspaper.
Kevenides, who specializes in biking cases, added:
“I don’t know what possible rational explanation there could be for the police to write more bike infraction tickets in neighborhoods that have less — less money, less businesses, less bicycle infrastructure than in other communities.”
Biking violations are not criminal offenses, but they give the police a reason to stop people to check for warrants and other possible offenses, the Tribune explained. The most common violation is riding on the sidewalk.
Experts told the outlet that Black communities lack the bike infrastructure typically found in White communities, such as protected bike lanes.
The police, however, say that issuing citations is all about public safety.
“Where bicyclist and vehicular safety has been an issue of concern, officers have been working with the community to enforce applicable traffic and safety laws,” Chicago police spokesman Anthony Guglielmi stated.
SOURCE: Chicago Tribune