Biking Where Black: Connecting Transportation Planning and Infrastructure to Disproportionate Policing

Distribution of sidewalk cycling tickets in Chicago, 2017–2019


This study asks whether deficiencies in transportation are associated with disproportionate policing in Chicago using the case of cycling. I examine how the number of bicycle citations issued per street segment are influenced by the availability of bicycle facilities and street characteristics, controlling for crash incidence, police presence, and neighborhood characteristics. Tickets were issued 8 times more often per capita in majority Black tracts and 3 times more often in majority Latino tracts compared to majority white tracts. More tickets were issued on major streets, but up to 85% fewer were issued when those streets had bike facilities, which were less prevalent in Black and Latino neighborhoods. Tickets were not associated with bicycle injury-crashes and inversely associated with vehicle injury-crashes. Infrastructure inequities compound the effects of racially-biased policing in the context of transportation safety strategies. Remedies include the removal of traffic enforcement from safe systems strategies and equitable investment in cycling.

Transportation Research Part D: Transport and Environment
Jesus M. Barajas
Jesus M. Barajas
Assistant Professor of Environmental Science and Policy