River North

Residents Rattled as Hundreds of Motorcyclists Drive on Sidewalks, Speed Through Traffic Lights

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Chicago area residents are at a loss as hundreds of bikers continue to gather in the city, revving engines, driving on sidewalks and speeding through red lights.

These residents want city officials to do something about the situation, but some leaders have indicated that multiple factors are complicating any efforts to tackle the issue.

On Friday, riders made their way through several areas of the city, including the South Loop and Streeterville.

“I was on the rooftop last night until 10 p.m.,” South Loop resident Andrea Graunke said. “It was going on nonstop.”

The motorcyclists also rattled windows, and nerves, in River North, with some residents saying that the gatherings have only gotten bigger as the summer has worn on.

Videos posted to social media Friday show bikers riding on sidewalks and riding through intersections, going through red lights and violating numerous traffic laws.

Despite the clear violations, some officials, including 2nd Ward Ald. Brian Hopkins, say that there are numerous factors that are complicating any potential response.

“The sheer volume, outnumbering the police officers means they’re probably not going to get caught.”

Nearly 100 motorcyclists have been cited in recent weeks, with three arrests, according to authorities, but with protests and skyrocketing gun violence and murder rates in the city, resources are stretched thin.

“If you try to chase them…that motorcycle becomes an 800-pound missile, which is a threat to innocent people walking around,” Hopkins said.

Hopkins says that efforts are being made to curb the issue, including issuing citations and even threatening arrest for some offenses. Sound tracking devices are in use along Lake Shore Drive, where many bikers travel. Those devices are helpful in the charging process, but only if individuals involved are caught.

Hopkins plans to introduce an ordinance later this year to make it easier to impound motorcycles, and to reallocate resources to address the issues raised by residents.

In the meantime, he urges residents to contact police with concerns about the problems.

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