Pedicab Law Put on Hold

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Attorneys representing the pedicab industry have succeeded in getting a temporary reprieve from restrictions adopted by the City Council earlier this year, including a cap on the allowed number of operators and a ban on electrically-assisted rigs, until their lawsuit against the city can be heard in court.

From a September 19 Public Advocacy Group press release:

Attorneys for the New York City Pedicab Owners’ Association (“NYCPOA”) and New York City’s Corporation Counsel agreed today to temporarily suspend implementation of Local Law 19-2007 (the “Pedicab Law”) and the Department of Consumer Affairs’ (“DCA”) pedicab regulations until a full hearing on the NYCPOA’s lawsuit against the DCA and City of New York can be heard by a New York County Supreme Court Justice.

Speaking on behalf of the NYCPOA, Chad Marlow of The Public Advocacy Group LLC, whose firm serves as NYCPOA’s General Counsel, said “we are very pleased that Corporation Counsel has agreed to a pause in the implementation of thePedicab Law and regulations until a court can properly determine DCA’s responsibilities under the law and whether it has failed to meet those responsibilities.”  NYCPOA President Peter Meitzler added, “the New York City pedicab industry has been thrown a lifeline, albeit a temporary one.  For now, I am grateful that the hundreds of New Yorkers who earn their livings in thepedicab industry will still have a business to run or a job to go to tomorrow.”

Marlow, who is president of the Public Advocacy Group, was recently named one of the "40 Under 40" — a list of NYC’s rising young political stars — by City Hall News (scroll).

Photo: NYCArthur/Flickr

  • ddartley

    Good, good news. I don’t think it’s included in the lawsuit, but the provisions that allow even low-level city employees to ban, on very little notice, pedicabs from pretty much any place are also logically nonsensical and should be stricken: such employees or city agencies are allowed to implement such a ban if they determine that the area is showing “extraordinary” congestion. Tell me, in Herald Square and Times Square, where pedicabs are arguably MOST useful, what is extraordinary congestion? Super-congestion in those areas is the norm.

    Those provisions are also unfair: why pedicabs and not all or other traffic?

    And, finally, as I’ve written to officials, those provisions could ruin the use of pedicabs for special events that require advance scheduling. How can, say, a bride and groom rely on a pedicab as their wedding day transportation if there’s the threat that some city employee might ban pedicabs from the area on the very day? What, they HAVE to use a limousine? Oh, how very PlaNYC indeed.

    I hope these principles get included in the lawsuit somehow, if NYCPOA and/or Public Advocacy Group is reading…

  • BusGrrl

    My concern is that pedicabs flaut traffic laws so blatently that they really don’t help their own cause. I’m scared to ride in one of those things – they cross intersections against the light, block pedestrians in crosswalks, etc. Maybe if they followed traffic laws it wouldn’t be such an issue.

  • ddartley

    BusGrrl: I must admit I have observed a lot of the same (especially recently, for some reason). But a lot of that would stop the moment a GOOD regulation law took effect. The current law, as written, has too many unfair and destructive provisions.

  • gecko

    Cars don’t fit in the future and the DOT and mayor’s office should aggressively move forward with human-powered and hybrid human-electric transport and get around the highly questionable limitations imposed by an ill-conceived city council decision.

    Where Paris has 10,000 public bicycles New York City could have 5,000 public pedicabs under full City Hall control. The City got a gift of 600 GEM electric vehicles from General Motors several years ago and has no problem using them. The same can be done with pedicabs and other human-scaled transport designed for the future of life on this planet.

  • Andy B from Jersey

    I’ve got to agree with BusGrrl and ddartly, pedicab operators don’t help their cause by breaking more traffic laws in 10 minutes than a regular cabbie does in a whole day.

    No lights, riding the wrong way, blowing red lights, etc. etc! All in a couple of minutes, at least from what I saw.

    I’m all in favor of pedicabs but I would never ride in one the way they operate. In other cities I’ve been in with pedicabs, this was never the case. The operators were safe and professional!

    I think city regulation could help this but limiting the numbers is NOT the answer. If the taxicab companies are so worried about a little “green” competition, nothing is stopping them from operating their own pedicab operations as long as there is not a cap on the numbers.

  • ddartley:

    This is Chad Marlow from The Public Advocacy Group LLC, and I wanted you to know that I did read your comments about the NYPD banning of pedicab from certain street by fiat (and you pointing that out is really apprciated). That part of the law not is not the subject of our present lawsuit because it is not “ripe” yet (we need to wait until the NYPD tries to use the power), but if they do try, that lawsuit will be coming shortly to a courtroom near you. For the other posters, your points about certain pedicab drivers driving dangerously and without lights, etc. is well-taken. It is not well-known that it was the pedicab industry itself that first called for City regulations of the industry specifically to reign in such irresponsible drivers. As BusGrrl said very well, a GOOD pedicab law would that raised standards for reckles pedicabs would be a big plus for the industry and the city. Of course, that’s not what we have now.

    Keep on reading StreetsBlog. It’s the best!

    – Chad

  • Sickandtired

    Pedicabs are nothing but common criminals. They hustle tourists, flaunt every traffic law in the book, and I’ve even had a few offer me pot at Columbus Circle. I’m all about being green, but to walk into the Park every day and be harassed and solicited is ridiculous. I’ve even seen one of them grab a womans ass. You don’t hear the pedicab associations trying to reign those guys in do you? No, because they don’t care.

    They mobilize very quickly when they are threatened with possible regulation that might force them to actually have insurance and follow rules, yet they don’t care about drugs, sexual harrassment, or clogging up every sidewalk, street, and park south of 59th St.

    It is painfully obvious that they are fighting regulation because that will bring their free ride to an end. They’ll have to abide by rules (very innocuous rules btw) and as they will be a regulated industry, one of them might actually feel compelled to pay income taxes.

    I know this is a month plus after this story, but I’m pissed and I wanted someone to know about it.

  • Sickandtired:

    I understand your frustrations and, for what it is worth, the Pedicab Owners Association fully agrees with your comments. The NYCPOA tried for many years to reign in the bad behavior you speak of and, after they were not able to do so, turned to the City Council for help. The behavior of which you speak is unacceptable and those drivers who shold be denied the privielge of operating a pedicab. That being said, I hope you can understand that responsible owners and drivers who carry insurance, drive safely, do not harrass pedestrians, etc – of which they are many – should not be made to suffer for the bad apples in the bunch. Throwing the baby out with the bathwater, so to speak, may be the simplest approach (and the one in large part taken by the City Council to please big donors), but it is not the wisest. Please know that your concerns are shared and of as great a concern to responsible pedicab owners and drivers as anyone.

  • Calling them out

    One big issue not discussed…every time you read an article on the lawsuit, the owner’s association is referred to as the “pedicab industry” when though they own the majority of bikes, they actually consist of 4-5 people who own large fleets. The majority of the industry, the hundred of drivers, are not specifically represented by this organization, and a large number are against the lawsuit and welcome the already proposed regulations with a few changes that are generally believed to be possible to take care over time. There are even some single bike owners who have joined the owner’s association and paid dues only to have the organization work against their interests, The pedicab owner’s association does not represent the pedicab industry.

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