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There Were Two Robberies of Cyclists on the Near-North Lakefront on Tuesday

3:49 PM CDT on August 5, 2019

The Lakefront Trail near Oak Street Beach. Image: Google Street View

This spring there were a series of attacks on cyclists on the south Lakefront Trail in Kenwood and Oakland. Last week two mugging on the north lakefront within two hours of each other showed that the North Side isn't immune to these kinds of assaults on cyclists.

On Tuesday, July 30, 2019, at about 9:40 p.m, a 44-year-old man was standing by the Lakefront Trail near Oak Street with his bicycle when three unknown offenders approached on foot and struck him in the face, according to Officer Kellie Bartoli from Police News Affairs. The offenders then took the victim's bicycle and belongings.

The victim declined medical treatment, Bertoli said. The suspects are all described as males, 19-21 years old, 5'4"-5'9", weighing 155-165 pounds. No one is in custody.

Less than two hours later at about 11:20 p.m., officers responded to a robbery call from the 1600 block of North Lake Short Drive, Bertoli said. A 40-year-old woman told the police that as she was biking southbound on the Lakefront Trail, she was approached by roughly five males. The victim stated that one of the males pushed her off of her bike. The offenders then took the bicycle and other personal property before fleeing.

Officers canvassing the area observed two males with a bike that matched the description of the one taken, Bertoli said. The two males were taken into custody, but the victim stated they didn't fit the description of the offenders who robbed her. The two individuals were then released. The victim's bike was recovered and returned. She declined medical treatment. No one is in custody.

After last spring's south lakefront attacks, one of victims told Streetsblog her priority was 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."

Some African-American bike advocates have also told Streetsblog that they feel the most effective response to such incidents in the longterm is increased investment in underserved communities, not more policing of the Lakefront Trail. In the wake of the South Side assaults, D'Frantz Smart, a member of the 2wheelgods Black bike group, said, "This news was a signal to do more work in my community and to [get] more people on bikes... There are already too many police. [Additional patrolling of the trail] will just lead to more stop-and-frisk.”

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