In 2017, avid cyclist Johnny Harris received a ticket from the Chicago Police Department for riding on the sidewalk. A year after the incident, the Black cyclist told the Chicago Reader, he briefly dipped onto the sidewalk to avoid potholes while riding on the West Side of Chicago, in between the predominantly Latino neighborhood of Garfield Park and the predominantly Black neighborhood of North Lawndale. The police didn’t care that he was just trying to prevent a crash and tumble at the fault of a crumbling road. He was fined $50 anyway.
Harris’s experience at the time was a norm, part of a larger policing strategy in the city of Chicago called “stop and frisk.” The strategy was used to stop people for petty grievances, such as riding their bike on the sidewalk, in hopes it would lead to bigger arrests such as drug or gun possession.
A Chicago Tribune analysis found that between 2008 and 2016, each of the top ten neighborhoods where cyclists were ticketed was either majority Black or Latino. During that period, bike riders in Black neighborhoods were ticketed twice as much as cyclists in white neighborhoods. But in 2016, shortly after the Americ... Read more