Guards Endanger 606 Users While Chasing a Cyclist

Guards shouldn't be patrolling the path in SUVs, and they definitely shouldn't be speeding down the trail to confront cyclists.

A man in a Chicago Park District "security" SUV appears to point at or grab at Brian Bauer, the cyclist who recorded this video.
A man in a Chicago Park District "security" SUV appears to point at or grab at Brian Bauer, the cyclist who recorded this video.

Update 10/10/18: The park district provided the following statement on the use of SUVs to patrol the Bloomingdale Trail: “The safety of our park patrons is paramount. The Chicago Park District continues to utilize sport utility vehicles to patrol our facilities, including The 606.  All security officers operating patrol vehicles are instructed to use caution and drive slow to observe any person in distress or to observe any criminal activity on the path.”

Video from a bike-mounted camera (contains NSFW language), posted last night on Instagram by Brian Bauer, shows two park district security guards in a Chicago Park District SUV recklessly pursuing a bicyclist on the Bloomingdale Trail after he called them out for blocking the 14-foot-wide trail with their vehicle.

In the 29-second clip, the camera-wielder rides up behind the SUV, which is parked or moving very slowly in the middle of the elevated trail, also known as The 606, with its lights flashing. “On your left!” the bicyclist yells while approaching the vehicle, then adds “You’re on a f—ing path!” as the bicyclist passes the driver-side window.

Granted, this wasn’t the most diplomatic approach, but the guards’ response escalated the incident into a potentially tragic situation.

Chicago Park District SUV catching up to a bicyclist
The Chicago Park District security guards speed after a bicyclist.

After the bicyclist rides by the SUV, we see him pass another cyclist. Then we hear the SUV ‘s horn blaring and the camera turns back down the path to capture the vehicle speeding towards him, apparently after passing the biking bystander at high speed. The bearded passenger sticks his head out the window and points at the bicyclist, perhaps yelling something. “You’re on a path!” the bicyclist repeats as the guards speed off down the 2.7-mile greenway.

Motor vehicles that aren’t being used to respond to emergencies or for landscaping work do not belong on a recreational path where people of all ages may be walking, biking, jogging, and skating. When the Chicago Police Department started patrolling the trail with ATVs rather than just bikes last year, Streetsblog Chicago pointed out why that’s a bad idea.

Obviously, having security guards in SUVs cruising and blocking the trail makes even less sense. But if the park district is going to do this, the guards certainly shouldn’t be endangering trail users, including innocent bystanders, by speeding down the path to settle a grudge.

The Chicago Park District said they are investigating the incident.

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