I guess it's time to add "riding a bicycle" to the long, long list of things that will get you pulled over by a cop for doing when you're black. The Tampa Bay Times:
The Times analyzed more than 10,000 bicycle tickets Tampa police issued in the past dozen years. The newspaper found that even though blacks make up about a quarter of the city's population, they received 79 percent of the bike tickets.
Some riders have been stopped more than a dozen times through the years, and issued as many as 17 tickets. Some have been ticketed three times in one day.
It's possible blacks in some areas use bicycles more than whites. But that's not what's driving the disparity.
Police are targeting certain high-crime neighborhoods and nitpicking cyclists as a way to curb crime. They hope they will catch someone with a stolen bike or with drugs or that they will scare thieves away.
"This is not a coincidence," said Police Chief Jane Castor. "Many individuals receiving bike citations are involved in criminal activity."
She said her department has done such a good job curbing auto theft that bikes have "become the most common mode of transportation for criminals."
Many of the tickets did go to convicted criminals, including some people interviewed for this story. And there are cases where police stopped someone under suspicious circumstances and found a gun or caught a burglar.
But most bike stops that led to a ticket turned up no illegal activity; only 20 percent of adults ticketed last year were arrested.
When police did arrest someone, it was almost always for a small amount of drugs or a misdemeanor like trespassing.
Ordinances that mysteriously don't get enforced for bicycle riders in the nicer neighborhoods of Tampa Bay, only the black ones.
Weird how that works.