Drink Beer. Pedal a giant, approximately 1,000-pound “bike.” That’s the premise of the Pedal Pub, a roving bar that partiers rent by the hour to imbibe while seeing city sights.
On Thursday, on a street in downtown Minneapolis, one of these monstrosities tipped over. It took a turn too fast and crashed. Amazingly, the Minneapolis Police Department said alcohol does not appear to be a factor in the crash.
Seriously? Isn’t alcohol the only real thing involved here?
Since it launched in 2009, Minneapolis Pedal Pubs have rolled around the city leaving drivers, pedestrians, and city bikers bewildered and bemused. Granted, people have fun on the beer carts, where each rider is required to pedal.
A sober “pilot” steers on tours that last two hours or more. They rent for $385.
Mostly, the Pedal Pub is harmless. Thursday’s tip-over was a rare and unfortunate exception. Ten people were injured, and two had to be evacuated by ambulance to a nearby hospital, their condition unknown.
The company makes each rider sign a waiver. It states: “I understand that participating on the PedalPub is a potentially dangerous activity. I assume the risk that I may be injured and/or injure someone else while using the PedalPub.”
To me, the Pedal Pub just seems like a bad idea. Putting beer-drinking “pedalers” on city streets, in traffic, shouting and tipping back mugs as commuters, busses, and other bikers pass by… is this truly smart?
New laws were passed last spring in Minnesota to add regulation to Pedal Pub procedures. There is a vocal opposition to the pubs in the community, notably a group called “I Hate The Pedal Pub.”
Litter and noise are among the complaints. They get in the way of traffic and block bike lanes.
In the end, the pubs also give city cyclists a weird large cousin and a bad face. Drivers already not thrilled to share the road with bikers are only going to get angrier if a giant “bike” filled with beer drinkers is blocking intersections and getting in the way.
We wish the riders in this week’s crash a speedy recovery. The Pedal Pub needs to slow down on those curves. Maybe it should pull over and stayed parked permanently on the side of the road.