Concerns raised over bikers riding dangerously on expressway


The recent death of a 22-year-old motorcyclist following an accident on the Northwest Side has raised concerns about groups of motorcycle riders that reportedly ride dangerously on the Kennedy Expressway, making frequent stops at gas stations during their rides.

A preliminary investigation revealed that a group of motorcyclists were driving "recklessly at a high rate of speed" at 9:40 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 3, in the westbound lanes of the Kennedy near the Kimball exit, according to Illinois State Police.

One of the riders was thrown from his white 2006 Suzuki after his motorcycle sideswiped a blue 2009 Yamaha motorcycle, which then rear-ended a gray 2017 Porsche Utility, according to Illinois State Police.

The rider of the white Suzuki was pronounced dead at the scene after emergency personnel arrived, according to police.

The rider of the Yamaha was transported with non-life threatening injuries to Illinois Masonic Hospital, police said.

Before the accident, a posting on the Facebook page of the motorcyclist who later died called for riders to meet at 8 p.m. at the Shell gas station at 3200 N. Kimball Ave.

"First stop is Bp (Amoco) downtown. After that we will decide as we go. Pace is going to be demon run through the whole night, but we encourage to ride at your own comfortable pace," the posting said.

Another stop for these rides has been the Shell gas station at 7201 W. Higgins Ave.

16th (Jefferson Park) Police District commander William Looney said that the district has received noise-related complaints about motorcyclists congregating at the station but that the riders are often gone by the time officers arrive. He said that the riders buy a lot of snacks at the gas station, giving workers little incentive to tell them to stop loitering.

Alderman Anthony Napolitano (41st) said that as many as 70 motorcyclists have been in the lot at once and that tenants in the nearby apartment have complained about the noise. "The big point is that motorcycles are extremely loud, I’ve heard, when being revved up," Napolitano said.

A 2016 YouTube video shows dozens of motorcyclists leaving the Shell after police assisted them by blocking block traffic on Harlem, presumably in an effort to get them to leave the area. The video shows that once on the expressway, some of the riders are performing wheelies and other stunts, while others are speeding