Series of Attacks on Cyclists on the South Lakefront Trail

The Lakefront Trail near 37th Street. Image: Google Maps
The Lakefront Trail near 37th Street. Image: Google Maps

Streetsblog Chicago doesn’t typically report on non-vehicular crime, but I thought it might make sense to give our readers a heads-up about a recent pattern of attacks on cyclists on in the early evening on the south Lakefront Trail.

Today the Sun-Times reported that several robberies were reported on the path in early April. Between 8 and 9 p.m. on April 3 and 4, assailants came up from behind cyclists on the trail near 47th in Kenwood, pulled them off their bikes, and robbed them. No weapons were used in the attacks. The mugger in one of the cases was described as a young teenage boy. The other assault involved three unknown people.

And earlier this week, a Streetsblog reader contacted me to say that on Tuesday night at around 8:30 she was biking home from the West Loop to Hyde Park when she was mugged on the trail near 37th Street in Oakland. “I’m ok, although sore, sad and shaken up,” wrote the woman, 32. “I have been thinking through how to share this in the effort to notify other cyclists to stay alert and to help the biking and trail-using community safe.”

The woman said she was biking south on the path when two people knocked her off her bike and punched her in the chest. “They hit me once and demanded my phone and cash,” she said. “They didn’t grab my bag or my bike — I was able to dig around in my saddle bag and give them my work phone and unlock it, then entered the Apple ID.”

She said the attackers seemed satisfied, so she put her chain back in place – it had fallen off during the attack – and pedaled off. One person chased after her and nearly caught up, but she was able to escape, and she alerted two other cyclists that she saw riding north.”

“It certainly could have been much worse,” she said. “I am bruised but didn’t break anything, my bike is a little beaten up but was rideable. I wasn’t threatened with a weapon. But, I and many others rely on the trail, so it’s certainly unsettling.”

Police News Affairs confirmed the basic information of the robbery. Police spokesman Howard Ludwig said the 2nd District has stepped up beat patrols of the area in response to the attacks. There is also a supplementary police detail along the lakefront trail from May through October. The police encourage anyone with information to call Area Central detectives at 312-747-8384.

The woman said her priority is to improve safety on the trail, rather than trying to press charges against her assailants. “I have also been thinking about how the city council just approved billions in TIF dollars for two massive developments, and how that connects to disinvestment in critical public services like mental health, schools, and affordable housing, and how that relates to incidents such as this one.”

Update 4/12/19: Fox News captured on video a daytime attack by three teens on an adult pedestrian that occurred Thursday on the Lakefront near 47th Street, close to the locations of the April 3 and 4 assaults on cyclists.

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