City Cracking Down on Pedicabs

City is regulating pedicabs with new and strict rules

By Eric Luu
|  Tuesday, Sep 22, 2009  |  Updated 2:31 PM EDT
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City Cracking Down on Pedicabs

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New restrictions for pedicabs.

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The city slammed the pedicab industry with strict new regulations yesterday, the New York Post reported.

The number of pedal-powered cabs in Central Park is growing significantly, and the city wanted to make sure they didn't monopolize the lanes designated for bicyclists. 
 
The Parks Deparment passed new regulations that ban pedi-cabs from using the bike lanes -- a move that has the industry seetihng. The bike cabs will have to use the right lane instead.

The pedal-powered taxis will be prohibited from displaying advertisements when cars are not allowed in the park. That means they can only display ads during rush hour when vehicles are allowed in the park. Pedicabs are allowed to enter at all hours of the day.

The city's new restrictions also say that areas where taxis and carriages pick-up passengers will be off limits to pedicabs.

These rules follow legislation earlier this year that required licensing for pedicab operators.

"There have never been rules for pedicabs before," Parks Commissioner Adrian Benepe told the Post. "There's been a huge proliferation of pedicabs in Central Park, and only in Central Park."

The average number of pedi-cabs working on a given weekend has skyrocketed from just a few to more than 200 in a couple of years, Benepe said.

The restrictions will take effect in late November following a public hearing at the Chelsea Recreation Center on Oct. 21.

New York City Pedicab Owners Association attorney Chad Marlow claimed the city is holding back an industry that generates money for the city, especially tourism dollars.

"It's somewhat hypocritical for the city as a whole to be promoting pedicabs to tourists -- and the mayor himself calling them a unique part of the fabric of this city -- and then at the same time, the Parks Department turns around and basically bans us at their whim," Marlow told the Post.

Marlow suggested he would file a lawsuit against the city because "government officials are given the right by the courts to do very smart or very dumb things."

Marlow objected to the advertising rule, saying the rule made no sense because they would not be able to display them during the weekends, when cars are restricted from entering. He also said the bike cabs can travel safely in bike lanes.

"Literally it's obscene," he told the Post. "If you try to make a little extra money [from ads], you're welcome to it, but you can't set foot in our parks? That's ridiculous. There's no rationale other than to single out pedicabs."

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