Fire Island Pedicab is expanding its business to the mainland, taking passengers by bike to the Bay Shore ferry. Newsday family writer Beth Whitehouse reports. Credit: Newsday/John Paraskevas; File Footage

Getting to the Fire Island ferry docks in Bay Shore just got a lot more fun.

Bright yellow pedicabs are stationed under a blue-and-white canopy at the municipal parking lot at Gibson Street and Ocean Avenue. Day trippers can either park or get dropped off at the lot and, for $5 per person, be transported along with their luggage — and even their pets — to the drop-off point at the Maple Avenue ferry docks. 

Fire Island Pedicab launched a service transporting passengers back and...

Fire Island Pedicab launched a service transporting passengers back and forth from downtown Bay Shore to the ferry on May 31. Credit: Newsday/John Paraskevas

Fire Island Pedicab drivers are like modern Fred Flintstones, moving the vehicle with the power of their feet — although they do have electrical assist. Once they reach Maple Avenue, they’ll travel in the already established bike lanes.

“One of the biggest issues we have is the traffic at the Maple Avenue marina in the summertime, with everybody going to Fire Island. There are not enough spots for everybody who wants to take the ferry,” says Michael McElwee Jr., Islip Town councilman. Other municipal or private parking lot options exist farther from the docks, but then visitors must take a ride-share service, a taxi service such as David Brothers, or walk the final leg.

Justin Galbraith, owner of Fire Island Pedicab, drives a pedicab...

Justin Galbraith, owner of Fire Island Pedicab, drives a pedicab along Maple Avenue in Bay Shore on May 31. Credit: Newsday/John Paraskevas

The pedicabs are one solution to the traffic challenge, McElwee says. “You see it at the Atlantic City Boardwalk. I’ve seen it in the Carolinas, I’ve seen it in Florida. It’s just a really cool look.”

EXPANSION PLAN

Fire Island Pedicab has transported people from Robert Moses Field 5 to the Fire Island Lighthouse and Kismet and back for the past five years; owner Justin Galbraith has three six-seater pedicabs running at that location.

This addition of three three-seater cabs will let riders reach the Bay Shore ferries that travel to the Fire Island communities of Ocean Beach, Atlantique, Dunewood, Ocean Bay Park, Seaview, Kismet, Saltaire and Fair Harbor.

Justin Galbraith, owner of Fire Island Pedicab, transports Maddy Novich...

Justin Galbraith, owner of Fire Island Pedicab, transports Maddy Novich and two of her children to one of the ferry docks along Maple Avenue in Bay Shore on May 31. Credit: Newsday/John Paraskevas

Galbraith says his vision is to eventually have 10 six-seater pedicabs running to the ferry and back.

In addition to picking passengers up at Gibson Street and Ocean Avenue, the pedicabs can handle ride requests from other lots in the area, Galbraith says.

There is a designated drop-off area outside the ferry docks...

There is a designated drop-off area outside the ferry docks on Maple Avenue in Bay Shore. Credit: Newsday/John Paraskevas

Rider Maddy Novich, 41, a criminal justice professor from Manhattan, was an instant fan when she rode the pedicab with two of her three children on its first day on Friday, when they were headed to Saltaire. So much so that she texted her husband, Jeff, 44, a product manager, who was arriving later in the day with their toddler, and told him to take it, too, which he did.

“There are so many benefits I think to pedicabs and biking,” Maddy Novich says. “One, moving away from a car-centric environment is really important. Bikes are eco-friendly, they’re cost efficient, you’re getting vitamin D out in the sun … It exposes the kids to car alternatives, which can be really important for future generations.”

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