Council takes pedicab rules for a spin

(Credit: Urbanite)

By Heather Haddon

The city is getting closer to throwing the rulebook at freewheeling pedicabs.

The City Council began considering a bill Monday that would require rickshaws to undergo inspections, meet safety requirements and obtain city licenses and insurance. Drivers would need to be at least 18 and get a license.

“We're ready to go,” said Jonathan Mintz, commissioner of the city Department of Consumer Affairs, which would oversee pedicabs if the bill is passed “The department could move quite quickly on this.”The city passed legislation in 2007 to crack down on the more than 1,000 pedicabs trolling city streets, but litigation stalled its enforcement. The new bill is similar to the 2007 proposal, but doesn’t cap the number of pedicabs allowed on the street.

Earlier this month, a pedicab driver and one of his passengers were hospitalized after they collided with a taxi in Williamsburg.

Pedicab businesses largely support this version of the bill. But some bemoaned its ban on rickshaws from bike lines and bridges, saying it will force them to bring pedicabs into Manhattan on trucks.

“It adds unnecessary cost, complication and pollution,” said Rob Tipton, owner of Mr. Rickshaw, a midtown pedicab company.

The bill must go through a second council hearing before a vote. The hearing hasn't been scheduled, but the council considers the bill “a priority,” a spokesman said.

Tags: pedicabs , new york city , transit

advertisement | advertise on newsday

advertisement | advertise on newsday