To the Editor: 

The problem with motorcycle noise and safety in East Hyde Park had become bad last summer, but this summer it has reached a dangerous crisis point. Several times a week, a caravan of motorcycles exits Lake Shore Drive at the 57th Street exit and goes south on Cornell Ave. I have counted more than 350 motorcycles at a time. The noise alone should raise alarms to police, but the reckless behavior is what is truly concerning.

I have seen these rides up on the sidewalks on 57th Street, riding up and down the front steps of the Museum of Science and Industry and riding in both the north- and southbound lanes on Cornell. Perhaps most dangerously, the red lights at South Hyde Park Boulevard are completely ignored as the caravan of bikes rides through the intersection for up to fifteen minutes, blocking traffic and making it impossible for pedestrians to cross.

Emboldened by these caravans, individual bikers are riding through Hyde Park at all hours of the night with sound systems that shake the entire neighborhood.

Last year I called to alert both polices districts who control this area, and their response was that it was too dangerous for a squad car to chase a motorcycle.

The most disappointing call was to Alderman Hairston’s office. I explained the situation to her assistant and his response was “What do you suggest we do about it?”

This response is unacceptable. Hairston has been 5th Ward alderman for 20 years, yet she almost lost her last election in a run-off against the worst opponent possible. She has no presence at all in East Hyde Park and the indifference of her office indicates that we need to make sure that she is defeated in her next election.

I am not sure what can be done about the motorcycle crisis, but I do know we need an Alderman who is concerned about the safety and well-being of her whole ward.

Mitchell Brown

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