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Posted under: Race & Identity News

Biking While Black: Police Target Chicago's Black Communities

Police find new ways to discriminate every day.

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According to the Chicago Tribune, the Chicago Police Department writes twice as many bike violation in black communities than any other neighborhood. Predominantly black neighborhoods accounted for 7 out of the 10 top communities for bike tickets from 2008 to 2016 with the only other three being mainly Hispanic. 

One would assume the number of violations would point to biking being popular in the black community but that is not the case. White neighborhoods still favor biking more, yet they do not rank on the cities top violation offenders. 

Just last year, officers issued 321 bike tickets in the low-income community of Austin in an eight-month span but just five in the wealthy Lincoln Park community.

Brendan Kevenides, an attorney who specializes in bike cases describes it to the Tribune as "biking while black." He went on to say, “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 citations are not as serious as criminal offenses but they are another reason for a cop to stop you. Violations like riding on the sidewalk -- which is also the most common -- can be avoided if the right infrastructure was provided as it is in the communities of its white counterparts. 

 However, police say it's nothing more than 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.

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