Pedicab Drivers Welcome Tougher Laws

Pedicab owners could be facing some newer restrictions, but they’re not complaining.

City Councilman Dan Garodnick has proposed new rules for the bicycle cabs, and the Pedicab Owner’s Association is supporting all of them.

Under Garodnick’s proposal, pedicab drivers will have to follow the same parking rules as cars and post a passengers’ bill of rights. Drivers who repeatedly break safety rules could have their licenses suspended for a year.

Additionally, no new pedicabs will be able to register for business in the spring. There are now  850 registered pedicabs and 163 licensed pedicab businesses in New York, according to Garodnick's office.

“I see a lot of pedicab violations in my district,” said Garodnick. “There have been 115 summonses issued to pedicab drivers in my district in one day alone.” 

Garodnick said his office receives many complaints about pedicab drivers.

Some have accused drivers of taking advantage of passengers who aren't familiar with average pedicab fares. One tourist was charged $90 for an eight-minute ride from Strawberry Fields to Central Park South.

“We felt it was time to take action on this issue,” said Garodnick.

Chad Marlow, attorney for the New York City pedicab Owners Association, believes that the new rules could go over further, including requiring drivers to have U.S. driver's licenses. The city now accepts foreign licenses as well.

Robert Tipton, of the Mr. Rickshaw pedicab company, agrees. "I fear we're going in the wrong direction with these new rules. A U.S. driver's license should really be required."

According to Tipton, some foreign pedicab drivers can't speak English and aren't familiar with traffic rules.

The package of bills will be the first significant rules on pedicabs since the council passed licensing and other requirements in 2009.

The council has yet to vote on the proposals.


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