By Oscar Perry Abello.
When it comes to discussions about implicit bias in policing, most of the national conversation has, with good cause, focused on the disproportionate killing of black people at the hands of police. What if you shift the focus to something seemingly more benign, such as bicycling citations?
The Minneapolis Bicycle Coalition did just that, and found that biking while black means you’re disproportionately likely to get ticketed by police, prompting them to propose decriminalizing biking on the sidewalks in busy business districts. The proposal has received a “cool reception” from city officials, says the Minneapolis Star Tribune.
Two council members disagreed with the proposal, one the chair of the transportation and public works committee and another representing parts of downtown Minneapolis.
Due to data shortcomings, the coalition reportcould not make as strong a conclusion as they were hoping for. In its records, the Minneapolis Police Department had only been keeping data on gender, type and location of citation. Between 2009 and 2015, MPD issued 1,101 bicycle-related citations, of which 40 percent were “rides on sidewalk” citations.
In order to generate data on race and citations, the coalition went into incident and arrest reports, requesting and receiving data from the MPD’s Computer Assisted Police Records System or CAPRS.