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SouthSide Chicago Ghetto Commute

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SouthSide Chicago Ghetto Commute

Old 11-05-19, 09:25 PM
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dooner90
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SouthSide Chicago Ghetto Commute

Does anyone live on the outskirts of the far southside of Chicago? I do, and I can't ride to work without facing the danger of awful roads/gangs. Does anyone have any advice who might commute this way? What would be the safest way to commute all the way downtown?
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Old 11-05-19, 09:43 PM
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The PC police will get you. Those are underprivileged and disadvantaged citizens you call gangs.
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Old 11-06-19, 07:21 AM
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@dooner90
drive the surface streets to work a few times. You will probably find that it is not a big deal and that others are currently commuting through that neighborhood. I commute from a very affluent neighborhood into South Central LA. The scariest part of it is the distracted and selfish drivers in my neighborhood.
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Old 11-06-19, 07:54 AM
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I used to bike around the Englewood / Woodlawn area. Never had any trouble. The bike infrastructure was kinda spotty, but never experienced anything threatening besides the normal mad drivers you find everywhere else in the US.
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Old 11-06-19, 08:00 PM
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Strava heat map?
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Old 11-07-19, 01:23 PM
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Dooner90

I rode recreationally and commuted on the South Side for many years. My advice would be to give any groups of teens a wide berth - I had a couple of near confrontations, not to mention the odd taking a swing or trying to knock me down, if I got too close. And once a group I dodged literally piled on a couple of pedestrians a moment later, beat the crap out of them and ran.

Second is, if possible, choose a route through industrial areas. No pedestrians, little traffic and empty sidewalks to ride on.
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Old 11-08-19, 01:18 PM
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Riding on the sidewalks in the city is asking for trouble.
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Old 11-08-19, 01:24 PM
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Originally Posted by Classtime View Post
Riding on the sidewalks in the city is asking for trouble.
Quite true. But as I said, it works in industrial areas where there aren't any pedestrians and you need to dodge some bad street conditions. Residential/business areas, no way.
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Old 11-08-19, 03:04 PM
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Start early. Very early. Like 05:00 kinda early. The thugs and gangbangers are usually down for the night by that time. The only people you'll (mostly) see are working stiffs trying to survive their neighborhood by earning an honest living. That's not to say you'll NEVER encounter a risky situation, but if you don't know how to recognize a risky situation in your own neighborhood then you probably shouldn't be riding a bicycle around in it. The vast majority of people living in "bad neighborhoods" are decent folks suffering social problems they didn't ask for.

The real challenge is in getting back home. If the neighborhood is as rough as you say, it can be risky business in the afternoons or evenings -- especially during the long hot summer days. People get cranky from the heat, congestion gets tight, and the unruly start to look for trouble. Plan for an alternate route home to stay out of sight and out of the fray.

General "bad neighborhood" advice: Don't stop moving. Keep your head down, eyes on the road, ride with purpose and do not act like a scared rabbit. You will be almost entirely invisible until you stop. Once stopped for longer than a signal light, predators may begin to take notice. If you beak down for any reason whatsoever, keep moving with the bike to a well lit, heavily populated area. Address the problem quickly and with confidence and get moving again as soon as possible. Should you be approached, position yourself with the bicycle between you and the other individual. Not everyone who approaches you is a threat, but do not make yourself vulnerable. A well maintained bicycle running the best flat resistant tires you can afford is strongly recommended.


-Kedosto
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Old 11-08-19, 03:38 PM
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Unfortunate thread title. Regardless, seems a good time to mention what I think is an interesting explanation for the falling urban crime rate. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lead%E...ime_hypothesis
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Old 11-09-19, 02:17 PM
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Originally Posted by Kedosto View Post
Start early. Very early. Like 05:00 kinda early. The thugs and gangbangers are usually down for the night by that time. The only people you'll (mostly) see are working stiffs trying to survive their neighborhood by earning an honest living. That's not to say you'll NEVER encounter a risky situation, but if you don't know how to recognize a risky situation in your own neighborhood then you probably shouldn't be riding a bicycle around in it. The vast majority of people living in "bad neighborhoods" are decent folks suffering social problems they didn't ask for.

The real challenge is in getting back home. If the neighborhood is as rough as you say, it can be risky business in the afternoons or evenings -- especially during the long hot summer days. People get cranky from the heat, congestion gets tight, and the unruly start to look for trouble. Plan for an alternate route home to stay out of sight and out of the fray.

General "bad neighborhood" advice: Don't stop moving. Keep your head down, eyes on the road, ride with purpose and do not act like a scared rabbit. You will be almost entirely invisible until you stop. Once stopped for longer than a signal light, predators may begin to take notice. If you beak down for any reason whatsoever, keep moving with the bike to a well lit, heavily populated area. Address the problem quickly and with confidence and get moving again as soon as possible. Should you be approached, position yourself with the bicycle between you and the other individual. Not everyone who approaches you is a threat, but do not make yourself vulnerable. A well maintained bicycle running the best flat resistant tires you can afford is strongly recommended.


-Kedosto
I lived right next door to a really dangerous part of NYC for 4 years and I agree with all this. All predators sense weakness. The only thing I would add is, if you have to stop at a light or stop sign and you feel uncomfortable for some reason, feel your safety is in jeopardy, don't hesitate to (very safely and cautiously) run it. Your life is more important than any traffic law. Traffic laws are important, but not as important as making it home that night.
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Old 11-09-19, 04:13 PM
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Good advice on this thread. I'll add that if you look like you belong and know what you are doing, people are more likely to leave you alone. Obviously, it's not a fail-safe, but the easiest target is the one most likely to have trouble.

I sometimes use crime maps for planning routes; these things are often severely under reported, but you can usually get a vibe on where the greatest numbers of incidents are occurring. In most neighborhoods, some blocks are kind of okay and some have the bulk of the activity.
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Old 11-10-19, 10:01 PM
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Iíve always thought that bad guys sleep late. When I was living in Oakland CA I would feel relatively safe starting riding at about 05:00. But always be aware, of course. Later on in a different situation, I could step over passed out sleepers around New Montgomery and 3rd st in San Francisco without much fear. On that walk I would also cut through various private alleys and such. Worked pretty good.
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Old 11-11-19, 12:39 PM
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Originally Posted by bpcyclist View Post
I lived right next door to a really dangerous part of NYC for 4 years and I agree with all this. All predators sense weakness. The only thing I would add is, if you have to stop at a light or stop sign and you feel uncomfortable for some reason, feel your safety is in jeopardy, don't hesitate to (very safely and cautiously) run it. Your life is more important than any traffic law. Traffic laws are important, but not as important as making it home that night.
Cops usually understand this too.

I once ran a red light in a car in Baltimore because of gang activity on the corner (I was lost). A cop saw, me...pulled me over a few blocks up and asked why I ran the light. I told him why. He totally understood and drove over to the highway on ramp I was looking for while I followed him so I wouldn't get more lost.
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Old 11-11-19, 01:17 PM
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Originally Posted by Miradaman View Post
Second is, if possible, choose a route through industrial areas. No pedestrians, little traffic and empty sidewalks to ride on.
This is the answer.

Even if the industrial route is 20% longer...take it. Learn it. Love it. Never go through dangerous neighborhoods. There are just too many people to keep an eye on at once. 99% of them are decent folks. But it only takes 1 to cause trouble. If you aren't focused on that 1 guy on any given day it's a higher risk than you need to take.

On an industrial route where you may see 1 person, you can keep an eye on him easily. If he does something that makes you nervous you can cross the street, turn around, etc with ample warning time. Plus the odds are low that the guy in the industrial area is there to cause trouble. He's probably walking to work, not looking for a mugging victim on an little traveled road.

As for the sidewalk issue....if it's an industrial area where big trucks are crowding the thin streets making it dangerous to ride and with no pedestrians and good sight lines so you aren't suddenly on top of someone as you round corners....ride the sidewalks. You will hear from road rules purists who insist that the rules of cycling on weekend rides through the suburbs should apply to the industrial streets of the South Side of Chicago. But who cares? You are the one who is there. You decide what is safe.

But if there are big wide lanes and little traffic...ride the streets. It's an easier ride on blacktop than sidewalks. That bump bump bump every block of cement wears you down after a few miles.

And like people say...drive the route first. Just because it looks like a quiet warehouse district on Google maps doesn't mean there is a drug dealing operation out of an abandoned building in real life.

And use Google maps to plot a route. The satellite view doesn't tell you everything (like how there are crows on certain drug corners) but it does give you an idea if you have empty streets with no cars parked long them and no houses or stores. It'll help you find little cut throughs behind buildings that give you access to a street you'd need to go 6 blows out of your way to reach via a car. It's good stuff. But again...drive it first.
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Old 11-11-19, 01:20 PM
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Is there anyone else who read this whole thread who now can't get Bad Bad Leroy Brown out of his head?

He was from the South Side of Chicago, you know. But he likely didn't worry about crime as he was the baddest man in the whole damned town. I mean when you stand six foot four so the women call you 'treetop lover' and the men just call you 'sir'....suddenly a few misguided youths on the corner aren't as big of a concern.
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Old 11-12-19, 10:06 AM
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Originally Posted by Skipjacks View Post
Is there anyone else who read this whole thread who now can't get Bad Bad Leroy Brown out of his head?

He was from the South Side of Chicago, you know. But he likely didn't worry about crime as he was the baddest man in the whole damned town. I mean when you stand six foot four so the women call you 'treetop lover' and the men just call you 'sir'....suddenly a few misguided youths on the corner aren't as big of a concern.
You're revealing your age.


-Kedosto
*our age*
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