A group of PedalPub vigilantes striking a blow for … well, something … in downtown Minneapolis Saturday got exactly what they deserved after they attacked two of the 16-seat vehicles with water balloons and squirt guns.
It’s hard to believe it was mere coincidence that the off-duty police officers who caught and held the adult attackers for arrest just happened to be PedalPub passengers given that an “I Hate the PedalPub” Facebook posting had announced that the bike-powered blitzkrieg was in the works.
But representatives of Twin Cities PedalPub said Tuesday that the Burnsville police officers had booked their tour last March. That they were on one of two PedalPubs targeted Saturday appears to be karma.
PedalPubs, best described as people-powered bars on wheels, have inspired local social media loathing because they cruise at about 5 miles per hour on city streets, and some consider them a traffic or noise nuisance.
In the first attack, a squirt-gun toting cyclist hit the PedalPub “pilot,” or driver, in the face. In the second incident, cyclists came up on either side of the PedalPub and let loose with squirt guns. A water balloon also hit a passenger in the head. A YouTube video shows that the cops on board chased down the bicycling bullies. The video captures the chaos and cyclists’ surprise that PedalPubbers struck back. Really? You lob water balloons at burly guys and they don’t take kindly to it? Shocking. It may be fortunate that these PedalPubbers were cops and not enraged, untrained citizens.
Online, some are celebrating the PedalPub bandits as folk heroes. They’re not. The attacks could have caused the vehicle to swerve into traffic or riders to fall off. Like it or not, Twin Cities PedalPub is a business operating with regulatory approval in the Twin Cities. Customers bring their own beer and drivers, who are employed by the company, are not allowed to drink.
It’s worth noting that many motorists consider bicyclists to be traffic-blocking nuisances. Imagine the uproar if drivers took the law into their own hands and pelted cyclists with water balloons.
There are safer, more constructive ways to highlight concerns about PedalPubs. Start a petition. Write a letter to the editor. Complain to city hall. Juvenile stunts make great news fodder on a slow weekend, but in this case they made the PedalPub haters look ridiculous.