We Read the Pedal Pub Comments, So You Don’t Have To

Kitten Reading Internet Comments

Emergency kitten, reading comments.

Last night, a pedal pub loaded with passengers was hit by a vehicle driven by a person on the Hennepin Bridge. There is a lot that can be said of the bridge itself and of pedal pubs. Not surprisingly, commenters on many sites are saying a number of things.

We decided to read the comments and rate the comments of each on a scale of 1-5 stars, where 1 means “reading these made us feel dumber,” and 5 means “we have hope for our civilization and maybe someday Cleveland Avenue in St. Paul will have bike lanes.”

KARE11: Car Hits Pedal Pub in Minneapolis; 12 Injured

Five comments. Tidbits:

  • “Its no different than what the Amish experience driving horse drawn buggies.”
    Is this commenter suggesting that  all slow-moving vehicles should be banned from roads? Should their users live in terror? Is it okay to drunkenly mow down Amish buggies? We don’t know, either.
  • “Even if the Pedal Pub was not at fault they do not belong on that road. 2 mph speeds and a wide profile are an accident waiting to happen.”
    This commenter believes that going around a slow-moving vehicle on a 4-lane bridge is too difficult for the average motor vehicle operator, apparently. I wonder if he also opposes cyclists, who have a narrow profile and can hit 15-25mph on that bridge?
  • “like the bicycle taxi, the pedel pub should be taken off city streets.”

Of note, one person refuted the blame shifting, and one person suggested it would have been great if the pedal pub were full of off-duty cops or vigilante justice fans.

SCORE: 1.5🌟. We feel dumber, but we’re pretty sure this isn’t even close to as bad as it gets.

WCCO: 3 Seriously Injured In Pedal Pub Crash Near Downtown Mpls.

Nine comments. Tidbits:

  • “How dare those people on a Pedal Pub get in the way of a drunk driver. We better ban all Pedal Pubs!”
    Early morning snark against the machine.
  • “Pedal pubs do not belong on public streets — especially at night. Let them ride on the Nicollet Mall. The drunks do not care or know where they are.”
    Well, debatably pedal pubs could use better lighting at night, but this user clearly does not understand the point of the pedal pub is to go to pubs, while pedaling, on a pub.We do appreciate this reply: “You know what else doesn’t belong on public streets? Drunk drivers.”

Score: 2.5🌟. This gets extra credit for the sassy snark-meister who points out that drunk drivers are a threat to public streets.

KSTP: 12 Hurt When Car Rear-Ends Pedal Pub in Minneapolis

Seven comments. Maybe we’ll be lucky? Nah, it’s KSTP. Tidbits:

  • “Put a bunch of drunks on a slow moving vehicle in heavy traffic. What could go wrong? Break the state laws against drinking in public, drinking on a moving vehicle, AND serving alcohol not at a fixed location (licensing law). How do they get away with these?”
    So many issues in this comment, where to start? One, we doubt there was “heavy traffic” on the Hennepin Bridge at 9:55PM. Second, while the users of the pedal pub may have been drinking, there is a Responsible Designated Driver person at the helm, making it little different from piling your drunk pals in the back of a Plymouth Horizon after spending the night drinking Sprites while they did Fireballs.(Side note: You can fit roughly 8 drunks in a Plymouth Horizon.)
  • “Communists are filthy diabolical evil people.”
    I… I don’t even know where this comes from.

Score: 1🌟. There was no redeeming snark, and we’re pretty sure communists don’t pedal pub.

Reddit: Various

This is being posted on most of the Minneapolis-area groups. Tidbits:

  • “Pedal pubs bother me too but they shouldn’t be blamed for poor, inattentive drivers. With how much popularity biking has become and what a great healthy lifestyle it is, it is high time drivers take more responsibility for the ridiculous harm they can cause.”
    This is a sensible comment.
  • “That being said, these Pedal Pubs are not safe vehicles if ANY accident like this can lead to this much fallout. This won’t be the last drunk driver in Minneapolis and unless they come up with some better safety features for the pubs other than “everyone else look the F out!” this will happen again.”
    How ridiculous would this comment be if instead of “pubs” and “pedal pubs” someone just said bicycles or pedestrians? Yeah, pretty deeply ridiculous.
  • “Bottom-line, people are TERRIBLE drivers of their cars so expect tons of people to be injured if they keep using these abominations.”
    Remember, the problem isn’t that people are terrible drivers, it’s that everyone else is getting in their way.
  • “Remember roads were originally paved to accommodate bikes. Nowadays people freak out if they can’t exceed the speed limit in their gas guzzling cars for ten goddamn seconds.”
    I bet this person would support a bike lane on Cleveland Avenue.
  • “The things are just not safe man. Totally different than actual bicycles.”
    Reply: “Totally agree. Cars driven by drunks are just not safe. Totally different than actual bicycles.”
    The reply snark made me happy.

Score: 3🌟. While we see some victim-blaming and statements about streets being for cars and everyone needs to live in fear of them, there is also snark and sense. (On Reddit. I know, right? Maybe it’s millennial snake people bias amongst commenters?)

MPR: Mpls. police: 12 injured when car hits pedal pub

Zero comments! Because MPR doesn’t allow commenting on news stories? We think so.

Score: 5🌟. Would read again.

PiPress: 12 injured as car rear-ends PedalPub in Minneapolis

Fifteen comments. We got our favorite blankie and stuffed panda bear to read these with us. Tidbits:

  • “Gee, a human powered party barge going at a fraction of the speed of a gas powered vehicle on the same roadway….what could possibly go wrong?”
    Those darn cars. Got minds of their own. We can’t stop cars from mowing down things in their paths!
  • “Pedal powered bikes don’t belong on streets.”
    Ah, Pioneer Press commenters. We knew a blanket statement was imminent. Thanks for not disappointing us, or our fuzzy friends.
  • “Drinking and pedaling is not without some risk.”
    This may include the driver of the motor vehicle, who is being investigated for DWI. He had his foot on a gas pedal, and thus was pedaling. Right? Right? Oh, wait, it’s the Pioneer Press comments section. Sigh.
  • “If these things run in north Minneapolis it’s a matter of time before we see a pedal pub drive-by shooting.”
    Racism and broad generalizations! They’re what’s for breakfast. Sigh.
  • “There are lots of inattentive drivers these days, and it’s been noted that many of them are not enamored with pedal pubs.”
    So, you’re saying they’re inattentively gunning for pedal pubs? That’s assault and attempted murder. That’s not a reason to ban pedal pubs.

Score: 0🌟 . The Pioneer Press lived down to our expectations.

Here are a few Tweets that crossed our stream at @streetsmn. We won’t star these, because we’re still holding our bear after reading the PiPress. But you can join us at Twitter and tweet along.

We love it when streets.mn readers comment. We’ll always read yours, and won’t snark them up, because we think you’re nifty.

So, do comment below!


About Julie Kosbab

Julie Kosbab is an online marketing consultant and active transportation advocate living in Anoka County, Minnesota. She was one of Minnesota's only League of American Bicyclists Certified Instructors when certified in 2005, and is no longer lonely in that calling. A past member of the National Bicycle Tour Directors Association, she has 2 children and a garage full of bicycles. Find her on Twitter as @betweenstations, or read her (seldom updated) blog at Ride Boldly!

24 thoughts on “We Read the Pedal Pub Comments, So You Don’t Have To

  1. Eric AnondsonEric Anondson

    You were reading my mind, just couldn’t avoid reading comments about this story either.

    Lotsa points this issue brings attention too like.
    -design a bridge for freeway behavior and your drunks drive like freeway drunks do. Hennepin bridge should be de-freeway’ed, speed limits aren’t effective.
    -alcohol-serving establishments that cater to drivers produce drunk driver carnage far above the carnage of drunk cyclists.

    1. Wayne

      I will 110% second the de-freeway’ing of that bridge. Years ago the police used to sit at the nicollet island street entrances and speed trap people, but they apparently can’t even be bothered to do that little bit of enforcement/discouragement anymore so people drive way too fast with zero consequences. Put some speed bumps in, narrow the lanes down, make them curve randomly, I don’t know … something, anything! There’s too many highway-streets in this part of town that need calming if they ever want to hit their target of 500k people in the city without about 100k of them dying under the wheels of cars immediately.

      1. UrbanDoofus

        They are out there in the evenings, two and three at a time. Looks like a solid operation and they’re pretty active.

        1. wayne

          I go over this bridge every day twice a day or sometimes more and have not seen them in a very long time, so maybe they are just doing it in off hours? Not sure if that’s a good deterrent or not when most of the people using it never see them.

    2. Monte Castleman

      What freeway has an at-grade intersection on either end with no interchanges in-between, bicycle lanes, and sidewalks? Is every street that’s not full of speed bumps, curves, and with narrow lanes a “freeway”?

      Having said that though, traffic is only at 26,500, which is at a level where two lanes in each direction would operate acceptably for motorists. Froggie might know more, but I believe 30,000 is the cutoff where more lanes are needed for acceptable operations.

      1. wayne

        narrow lanes? Are you serious? These are way too wide for the posted limit. When you have three lanes in the same direction divided from traffic going the opposite direction without interruption for that length with those lane widths, people treat it like a highway. I don’t care if it doesn’t meet the technical specifications, in practice and in use it’s treated the same way. The only intersection is RIRO with slip lanes which doesn’t do anything to slow down speeding traffic.

      2. wayne

        Also pretty sure those aren’t actual bike lanes, just a gutter buffer people use like one.

        1. Matt SteeleMatt Steele

          The Hennepin Ave Bridge looks like it has 56′ in each direction, including 12′ sidewalks. Here’s a proposed alternative, from inside to outside of each bridge:

          11′ dedicated streetcar/future LRT ROW
          2′ median
          10.5′ x2 vehicle lanes
          2′ buffer/shoulder/gutter pan
          3′ planter box or similar buffer (on curb)
          7′ bicycle lane, ideally at same level as sidewalk but paved.
          10′ sidewalk

          BOOM! Instant safety.

          1. wayne

            What about the secondary bridges on the east bank side of nicollet island? They seem narrower than the main span …

          2. Alex CecchiniAlex Cecchini

            Not that different than my proposal earlier https://streets.mn/wp-content/uploads/2014/03/First_Ave_Proposed1.png

            We’ve talked about it on the forums, but I think this area would benefit from retaining Henn/1st as short one-way sections. In my mind, 2 narrow one-way lanes are not much different than a 2+1 turn lane. People see the turn lane as unused space and take the cue to go faster, pass at speed around cyclists/parking cars/turning cars/etc. Definitely safer than a 4-lane road segment, but not much different than a 2 lane one-way that accommodates dedicated space for transit and bikes.

  2. Andrew B

    Thank you for your public service Julie. I knew I would rage quit the internet today if I read the comments on those sites.

  3. Ian R.

    Amazing! “We read the comments so you don’t have to” for local articles about cycling and transit should be a streets.mn regular feature. Maybe there could be bingo cards?

  4. Joe D

    Troll Here:

    There is Heavy traffic on the Hennepin Avenue bridge at 9:55PM on Friday and Saturday nights…..

    1. Will

      Heavy traffic to Minnesotans is seeing someone else on the street or road. Even if traffic were truly heavy, then it’s even less reason for hitting anyone else out there, as speeds should be slower.

      1. Eric AnondsonEric Anondson

        Heavy traffic to Minnesotans is … all lanes at a stoplight having a car already in.

Comments are closed.