Saturday, October 14, 2017

Minneapolis politicians attend protest march comparing bikes to Nazis

"Nazi Lane" signs dripping with fake blood (photo: Shane Morin)
Minneapolis election season has collided with backlash to a pair of bike lanes recently installed on 26th and 28th streets. Previous negative reaction to those lanes has mainly consisted of Facebook posts, a never-ending thread of commentary on the Nextdoor website, and Jon Tevlin of the Star Tribune fanning the flames. Today the bikelash became an actual real-life protest with signs reading "Nazi Lanes," "Mafia Lanes," and "Suck It Lanes."

One important thing to know is that the idea for this protest began on social media as a hoax, but became very real after spreading to credulous bike-haters on Facebook. The Facebook event was created by internet hoax artist Jeremy Piatt (known for creating the GoFundMe for Kanye West that was picked up by major national news outlets).

By all accounts, organizer Jeremy Piatt didn't show up to the protest. But here's who did show up to march against bikes: two candidates for City Council, David Schorn (Ward 10) and Joe Kovacs (Ward 7); and former Ward 10 City Council member Meg Tuthill; and let's not forget the group of people carrying "Nazi Lane" signs dripping with red paint intended to look like blood.

The anti-bike marchers began by walking in the newly installed bike lane on 26th Street, east from Hennepin to Lyndale Ave. They then walked in the bike lane, west on 28th Street. Observers on social media remarked how fortunate they were to find refuge from cars in the bike lanes.

Former Ward 10 City Council member Meg Tuthill (left, in sunglasses).
City Council candidates David Schorn & Joe Kovacs (right, on sidewalk).

The anti-bike protest was followed a few hours later by an event billed as a "Bike Lane Party" attended by a few dozen residents, including current Ward 10 City Council member Lisa Bender. Bender advocates for policies that create safer streets for pedestrians and cyclists, and has been the target of criticism from bike lane opponents on social media.

Lisa Bender's opponents in Ward 10 include: David Schorn, who was at today's "Nazi Lane" protest; Saralyn Romanishan, who is fond of comparing city government to Hitler/Isis/ethnic cleansing; and Bruce Lundeen, the Republican candidate who made racist remarks at a recent candidate forum.