Pedicab Rally in the News

AMNY reports:

The City Council is poised to put the brakes on New York’s freewheeling pedicabs, prompting hundreds of their drivers to say the regulations would devastate a pollution-free way to get around town.

"They say we are causing traffic congestion," said pedicab driver Mega Martinez, 43, at a protest Tuesday. "How can that be? We are the only ones who can get around the traffic."

pedicabs3.jpg

In addition to capping the number of pedicabs at 300, the City Council bill would completely ban those pedicabs that use electric-assist motors. While most of these motors use less power than a hair dryer, Comrie said the council considers them motor vehicles, subject to state laws.

A vote on the pedicab regulations is scheduled for Feb. 28.

 

Photos: Bill DiPaolo 

 

  • alex

    I think pedicab use should be supported by the city as they are a great alternative to, and often more efficient than, TL&C automobiles.
    However, pedicab safety seems somewhat dubious to the casual observer such as myself (and probably city council members, police officers, and others)? From what I see on 8th Ave and CPW, pedicabs don’t appear to have roll cages, nor do passengers nor drivers wear helmets. Sure, pedicabs have some lights and reflectors, but nearly everyday I watch a vehicle or two nearly hit pedicabs (unknown to the pedicab drivers and occupants).
    Driving a pedicab may be a great way to live in NYC for a few months while one is travelling the world (which seems to be the case for more than half of the pedicab drivers I have talked to), but there is not much room for error on the congested streets of NYC. I would love to see more pedicabs, provided they are safer for both the drivers and passengers.
    Also, a problem I encounter on CPW fairly often is the presence of pedicabs in the bike lane.
    Should pedicabs be allowed to ride in bike lanes? It seems most bike lanes are made wide enough for one bike to pass another bike without either bike having to ride into traffic. However, pedicabs occupy the entire bike lane and force passing cyclists into traffic – similar to the effect caused by the bike lane being occupied by a car. Yet pedicabs are bikes. It would seem that pedicabs can use (monopolize) the bike lane despite the compromised safety of other cyclists. Is this a real dilemma or does a solution exist?
    Personally, I want to see more pedicabs in car lanes and less pedicabs in bike lanes.

  • Aaron W

    I agree with Alex. Further, I’ve seen pedicabs take up the entire width of the Central Park loop. That’s not the way to get cyclists on your side. Not regulating any powered vehicle seems like a bad idea to me.

  • P

    Oh no, not another Aaron!

  • DR

    “However, pedicab safety seems somewhat dubious to the casual observer such as myself (and probably city council members, police officers, and others)? From what I see on 8th Ave and CPW, pedicabs don’t appear to have roll cages, nor do passengers nor drivers wear helmets. Sure, pedicabs have some lights and reflectors, but nearly everyday I watch a vehicle or two nearly hit pedicabs (unknown to the pedicab drivers and occupants).”

    -alex

    true the public should know how dangerous “motorized vehicles” are on the street and how close they come to hitting pedicabs and all bikers in general. the mayor must address this issue as it’s only going to grow and oil shortages increase.

    there were ZERO pedicab accidents and none from the previous years – compared that to the 2 horrible horse and carriage accidents in 2006 — that left one guy in a coma.

    but the real answer to your solution, all motorized vehicle should stay OUT of the bike lanes, and bike lanes should be widened.

  • One solution: a congestion charge on stinky petro-powered motor vehicles, like in London; how about $20/day to drive a car or truck in Manhattan?

    Orlando, Florida has NO bike lanes on its busiest downtown streets – and up to 70 pedicabs!

    Hugh, Earth Shuttle Pedalcab

  • so, i just need to vent….

    yesterday (or maybe thursday) the city council consumer affairs committee released intro 331-a (http://webdocs.nyccouncil.info/textfiles/Int%200331-2006.htm?CFID=2005790&CFTOKEN=82739355). without going into too much detail and boring those who know and love this city, this city council (nor the mayor office) is NOT progressive. they are ACTIVE in discouraging cycling. this is not about commercial cycling, or recreational cycling or even about political cycling (ie. critical mass). this is a clear failure on the part of those decision makers to view cycling as TRANSPORTATION. cycling is transportation and in these dense urban environments, it is superior in every way to MOTORIZED vehicles. again, most people reading this website are familiar with the arguments. i would just like to draw on one statement in the regulation.

    “It is…the purpose of this subchapter to minimize the effect of pedicabs on traffic and congestion…”
    the emphasis is mine.

    what is the effect of pedicabs on traffic and congestion in our beautiful city? a quick visit to times square easily demonstrates the effects. travel else where in midtown also shows the effects of pedicabs. dont waste your time looking anywhere else (except maybe the village night life scene) because pedicabs have YET to effect any other area of the city. do the narrow, human-scaled vehicle double park? do they block the box? are they blowing their horns at all hours of they day and night? no, no, and no. the vehicle is more often forced onto the sidewalk to park and blocks the MOST effect means of urban transportation. far too nimble to be trapped anywhere on a city street, the tricycles simmply finds room between the larger, heavy, motorized vehicles clogging the streets and avenues. a pedicab driver is not frustrated on ninth avenue stuck in the lincoln tunnel traffic. often viewed at FUN, CLEAN, or SIMPLE, the pedicab is TRANSPORTATION.

    so what is the effect of pedicabs on traffic and congestion? human-scaled vehicle do have a particular effect on motorized traffic. watch this video http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oYOTpBvYCvU , sponsored by the metropolitan taxi board of trade. there is so much material in this video, but i cant stop thinking about one specific scene. eight minutes and twenty seconds into the video the camera ‘interviews’ a woman taxi cab driver. the leading questions aside, she says very simply “i am very much cautious not to touch them, you know, not to hurt them”. when else have you seen a cab driver so friendly? human-scaled vehicles CALM traffic. with their size the MITIGATE congestion.

    now why would the mayor fire wienshall after she said the traffic shows the vitality city? sounds like she has the party line down pretty well. the politician in this city should be ashamed of their lack of backbone. im sick of hearing about ‘political cover’. is this not the capitol of the world? can we not lead the way with innovation? why are we stuck in, and on, motorized traffic?

  • http://webdocs.nyccouncil.info/textfiles/Int%200331-2006.htm?CFID=2005790&CFTOKEN=82739355

    sorry about the missing link for the reg

    no apology for the poetic liberties

  • This is really an outrage because these regulations don’t just suppress Pedicabs but curb the very purposes of a safer future. This is the time to fight against the regulation in whatever ways possible.
    This is especially disheartening because our documentary film “Men of Burden – Pedaling Towards a Horizon” is advocating the cause of Cycle Rickshaws (Pedicabs) in India and globally.
    For more information, check out our website http://www.AccessibleHorizonFilms.com

    Synopsis: Men of Burden – Pedaling towards a Horizon is a Documentary Film set in the city of Pondicherry, a Union Territory in South East India, the Documentary film uncovers the story of disappearing Cycle rickshaw drivers living in abject poverty. Over time, the city has experienced a gradual but alarming reduction in the number of Cycle rickshaws thereby diminishing the chances of living of those who depend on them. What used to be one of the primary modes of transport in the city is now a fading memory with the few remaining ones staging a difficult survival. The film explores some of the ethical dimensions of man pulling man against the background of increasingly menacing effects of motorized transport and Air pollution. It also takes you through the Rickshaw men’s journey of hope on the roads that have fostered them.
    Representing one facet of India’s Population below Poverty line, these unflagging men perpetually struggle to eat one satisfying meal a day. But what is remarkable is the essence of some who believe in making a difference in an apparently hopeless livelihood. While India’s big cities are racing towards Globalization and Technology, these men, against all odds, remain appreciative of their modest lives by believing in the power of now.
    Portraying the immediacy and desolation of the situation the film highlights a catalytic change revolutionizing India’s economic and social future from the grass roots level. Juxtaposing the way of life of these men with definitive solutions, the film answers the question of how these changes can trickle down to the roots of India’s soil.

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