Pedi Pests Face New Regulations

September 15th, 2010 by Daniel Prendergast

By Daniel Prendergast

They have been the bane of New York City drivers and pedestrians for about fifteen years now. Pedicabs – bicycle drawn carriages – have been making congested city streets worse by preying on unknowing tourists who seek a leisurely ride though the city. But while the portly family from Iowa might think it a lark, New Yorkers know that they are little more than pests, and dangerous ones at that.

That’s why City Councilman Dan Garodnick (D-Manhattan) plans to make life a little harder for the already struggling pedicab drivers. The industry has been burdened with regulations over the last year that have forced the once thriving pedis to go legit or get off the road, and Garodnick is trying to take things one step further. Garodnick wants pedicabs to abide by the same parking rules as cars, which would mean no more pedis on the sidewalks or parked haphazardly in no standing and no parking zones.

The push for regulation began in 2007 when the City passed legislation that forced drivers to have licenses and insurance, as well as set safety standards and determine a method for calculating fares. Since then the number of pedicabs on the streets has decreased, making life in and around Midtown a little more bearable. But the pedi problem persists.

Regulation can only do so much. Pedicabs are slow and block the outer lanes of New York’s busiest thoroughfares, causing car and bus traffic to be at the mercy of these sluggish peddlers. This can create all sorts of problems But besides being a minor inconvenience, pedicabs are incredibly unsafe. Pedicab drivers fearlessly merge in and out of traffic while clueless passengers take in the sights.

Some pedicab drivers say the regulations have gone too far and that they are treated unfairly by police. While no one is against their right to make a living, New Yorkers might have sympathy for the suffering drivers if they weren’t so pushy about offering a ride.

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