'Exterminate These Assholes': Anti-Bicycle Group Draws Controversy

Admins with "NKY Hates Bicyclists" say they were just trading harmless jokes about cyclists. But riders say they were inciting violence and engaging in hate speech.

Sep 18, 2018 at 3:34 pm

click to enlarge A cyclist on Route 8 in Northern Kentucky
A cyclist on Route 8 in Northern Kentucky

Pictures of cars smashing into groups of cyclists. Stories about throwing quarters and lit cigarettes at bicycle riders along Northern Kentucky’s Route 8. Memes including homophobic slurs calling cyclists gay.

That was some of the content found on the Facebook group “NKY Hates Bicyclists” administered by a trio of Northern Kentuckians, including one who recently ran for a local school board.

The group’s members say the posts on the page were just jokes meant to be funny. But some Greater Cincinnati cyclists aren’t laughing. The group has since changed names to "Share the Road," and is private.

Riding on the road is legal in Kentucky, and the state legislature there passed a safe-distance law in July. That means drivers have to give cyclists at least three feet of room when passing on roads. There are a number of other laws governing cyclists in the state, of course, including a requirement that no more than two cyclists ride side-by-side on Kentucky roads.

NKY Hates Bicyclists (now Share the Road) was founded to express frustration with cyclists who ride along popular bicycling destination Route 8 and other nearby rural roads. The organizers of the group say those cyclists ride too slow, take up too much of the road and endanger drivers.

“Here’s the deal,” wrote group administrator Noah Heim recently. “We don’t really hate anyone, maybe some. The point of this page is to be fun, give people an outlet to ‘let the hate out of their heart’ and just have a good time. Everyone has been posting some hilarious stuff and let’s keep it up. Remember it’s all in good fun and I have even had some bicyclists join and message me how hilarious everyone’s memes and comments are.”

Further down in the comments, however, Heim posted a photo of President Donald Trump whispering to House Speaker Paul Ryan with the words “That was just for show. Exterminate these assholes.”

If you’re a Northern Kentucky politics watcher, Heim’s name may sound familiar. He ran for Campbell County School Board in 2016 against incumbent Kimber Fender. Fender won.

Some posts in the group appear to reference running down cyclists.

"It's going to look real bad when one of us accidentally run over one of these bicyclist lol," reads one post a group member wrote Sunday. That post seems to have since been deleted.

"" 'Accidentally' lol" another member comments.

"What body?" Heim replied.

"You need an alibi I got you," a fourth group member wrote.

A post by another group administrator, David Andriot, shows a car plowing into a group of cyclists, with several flying into the air.

“I’ll get even with those cyclist (sic) one way or another…” Andriot wrote above the photo.

Facebook deleted the post because it contained “graphic violence.” Another by Heim was also deleted, apparently because it contained a homophobic slur.

There is a crybaby snitch amongst us!!!,” the group’s third moderator, Bill Verst, wrote about the deletion of Andriot’s post. “You are a disappointment and a cowardly disgrace to our united movement towards making NKY roads great again!!! This is a feelings free zone- behave accordingly...... CRYBABY.”

As you might expect, the group drew the attention of cyclists in Greater Cincinnati, who in turn posted in their own groups about NKY Hates Bicyclists and now Share the Road. Some called for Facebook to ban the group, accusing it of hate speech and inciting violence.

I guess I just don’t get where the 'hatred' comes from,” Cincinnati Bike Market poster Karl Kauffman wrote. “Undoubtedly each of those guys see motor vehicle drivers break the law multiple times each day - many more times than any cycling transgression (real or perceived) - yet no 'NKY hates drivers"'FB page. I've never understood that disconnect.”

In local online cycling groups, there has been some debate about how to deal with the anti-cycling Facebook page. Some have argued that the best approach is to simply ignore the inflammatory group, or to create a counter group. Others, however, say that bringing the content posted on the now-private NKY Hates Bicyclists page out into the public is the best way to address the issue.

“Yes, public awareness is important and where people put their hate out in the public it is certainly worthwhile to study and spread it around,” attorney Steve Magas wrote in the Cincinnati Bike Market Facebook group.The only debate here is whether this is the best, or a proper, forum -that’s for admins to decide. For this group I would agree that sunshine is the best antiseptic & the more the people know the better- threats to those who ride on Route 8 need to be taken seriously.”

Heim, however, has said that people are taking the groups too seriously.

“I see both sides but people need to realize we are just fucking around,” he wrote in a comment on a post in the NKY Hates Bicyclists group. “I hope no one from this group would ever intentionally hurt someone.”

But cyclists say the danger is real. Commenters on the Cincinnati Bike Market page recounted recent near-misses and more dangerous incidents involving angry drivers.

I still ride outside but I’m very careful,” one poster said. “I also avoid Newport, Covington, and Route 8.