D-day is coming for NYC Pedicab Drivers. By November 20 Pedicabs will need to be licensed, registered and insured to stay in business in New York City.
Many New Yorker’s feel the new requirements are long overdue. Pedicabs are seen as a danger and a nuisance. Up until now, pretty much anyone could grab one of these contraptions, pick up a fare, and pedal round the city to make a buck. Some people consider that many of the drivers have been irresponsible and the pedicabs ill maintained.
Jonathan Mintz, NYC Department of Consumer Affairs commissioner, says "New Yorkers deserve and tourists are looking for a safe pedicab experience. That’s why the law is requiring insurance, lights, seatbelts, proper brakes." Under the new rules Pedi drivers will have to obtain a Pedicab license and be subject to all road rules.
A severe crash in Brooklyn, in which 3 people were injured, spurred on the tightening up of regulations regarding pedicabs. While there were rules in place, these were not really being enforced or adhered to. The New York City Pedicab Owners Association has had a Code of Practice in place. Of course not all of the estimated 1,000 pedicab drivers have associated with this. Pedicabs have been on the streets of New York since around the mid 90’s and the Association was set up in 2005 to attempt to bring standardization and best practices to pedicab operations.
So far only around 40 pedicabs have been submitted for licenses out of over a thousand that are out on the streets. The New York City Pedicab Owners Association says that they expect a huge rush just before the Nov. 20 deadline. Owners who do not register by the deadline will be permanently barred from operating a pedicab.
The new laws are expected to cost around $1,000 per pedicab. For companies that own several or hundreds of pedicabs this is obviously going to add up to a substantial outlay.
Most responsible pedicab drivers are quite welcoming of the new laws. They too want a good name on the streets and for their trade to be seen as ‘respectable’. New York City Pedicab Owners Association says "The guys that actually do this year round, we do it for a living, some of us have sightseeing guide license. Really want the business regulated and get more than half the bikes off the streets."
While the new regulations are on the whole welcomed by pedicab owners, they were not happy when in September new rules were passed that prohibited pedicabs from areas where taxis and carriages made pick ups in Central Park. They were also prohibited from advertising there. Those regulations are also due to come into effect in November this year.
Pedicabs are perceived by many as a lively and interesting part of the culture of New York. With the new laws in place it is hoped that they will also be a safe as well as fun way to see the city.