Andre Franklin, 56, rides a bike in Hyde Park after some snow fall in Chicago on March 13, 2017.
My story that ran online and in the Sunday, March 19, Chicago Tribune under the headline "Minority areas see the most bike tickets" prompted plenty of debate online, and dozens of lively emails.
The story described how majority African-American neighborhoods see more than twice the number of bike tickets seen in white or Latino areas. Not a single majority-white area ranked in the top 10 list of neighborhoods with the most citations, despite the popularity of biking in white areas such as West Town and Lincoln Park.
The story used statistics obtained from the Chicago Police Department.
Police say the tickets, mostly for riding on the sidewalk, are being issued in the interests of public safety. Bike advocates pointed to the lack of infrastructure like bike lanes in many African-American and Latino neighborhoods, and some wondered whether police were unfairly targeting non-white cyclists while going easier on law-breaking cyclists in white areas.
Some emails in response contained unprintable language. Some showed a strong fondness for the caps lock key. A sample of others are included below. Letter writers who did not want their names used are identified by initials.
To me, riding on the sidewalk is much less dangerous to pedestrians than blowing stop signs and running red lights.
Please tell the CPD to station themselves at the corner of Walton and Clark streets. They could easily write $1000 of tickets in a few hours as white cyclists routinely breeze through the stop sign before turning right on Clark. As a pedestrian, I am frightened to cross at this intersection.
I have also witnessed numerous cases of white cyclists in the Loop and Near North riding through red lights during breaks in traffic. I cringe every time I see this. Let’s get the word out through law enforcement that cyclists are not pedestrians on wheels. — Grace Dumelle, Chicago
I don’t know if ticketing rogue cyclists is the best way to make money. But with its credit rating at junk status, the city could use the help.
Whether it is your liberal posture or rose colored glasses you fail to understand One (sic) irrefutable fact. Law among minorities has a different interpretation? Statistics bare (sic) that out? From my experience having been a city teacher and property owner the story’s (sic) I could tell you would be educational. — S.D.
Sorry, but this is another poor me issue. If you drive around very often you will see the disregard for bike laws in, especially, minority areas. It gets real old when the people who break the laws the most cry when they are caught. To be quite frank, I would think the cops would just ignore this in the minority areas. They had/have to know that this would eventually end up as a poor me story. You bit. -M.J.S.
I investigated citation numbers not because black and Latino cyclists were complaining about tickets, but because people in majority-white areas were complaining that cyclists did not seem to get any.
Are people still allowed to park on Michigan avenue (sic) to pick up family members from work while blocking a lane of traffic?
Do the people that complain about the bikers still jaywalk, cross against the light and basically do anything they want to make there (sic) train? I no longer live in Chicago but I used to bike to work… Every day was a fiasco in Chicago and since I valued my life I did sometimes ride on the sidewalk.
I challenge any police officer to bike for a week in the city to and from work and than tell me about the experience. I could go on and on with countless stories but biking in Chicago is not safe. — Mike Campbell, Lemont
The Loop at rush hour is a thrill ride, whatever your means of travel.
Mary, really found your article interesting. First I was completely unaware that the Police where (sic) even issuing tickets to bikers, from my perspective never seen one issued and people ride on sidewalks, run through stop signs, ride the wrong way done (sic) one way streets, and switch lanes whenever they want…
But I live in West Town, (Erie & Ashland), and maybe that’s your point. What’s going on in Chicago, is a disgrace. — Ken Wolf, Chicago
It can feel like the Wild West in West Town.
Biking on sidewalks is illegal per ordinance. White neighborhoods have a more advanced bike culture. When bike laws are "broken" in white areas, they are done using a variety of maneuvers that either make them legalish or performed in a "pedestrian" mode which would result in a non-bike ticket (jaywalking). — Igor Stavnitser, Chicago
"Legalish" is a fine Chicago word.
Metra loses $5.3 million in lawsuit
A Metra engineer injured after falling from a locomotive walkway in 2013 won a $5.3 million judgment last week against the commuter rail service.
The judgment for Christopher Cravatta, 33, came after a three-week jury trial in Cook County Circuit Court. At trial, Cravatta and other Metra employees testified as to the agency’s "systemic" failure to remove both snow and ice from trains and oil and lubricant residue from locomotive walkways, according to Cravatta’s lawyer Brett Emison.
Cravatta was stepping down from the rear of the locomotive onto the first passenger car and slipped and fell, Emison said. Cravatta had picked up oil and lubricant residue on his shoes when he walked through the engine room passageway in the locomotive, then slipped on snow and ice stepping down onto the passenger car.
Cravatta’s fall on December 17, 2013, left him with "severe and permanent injuries" affecting his back, which have resulted in more than 220 medical appointments and prevented him from returning to work, according to Emison. Attorneys Ken Barnes, Nicholas Cronauer and Tim Ocasek also represented Cravatta.
Metra spokesman Michael Gillis declined comment on the verdict, other than to say the agency is reviewing the decision.
This article was sourced from http://truckofnews.com