Do Pedicabs Belong in Bike Lanes?

pedicab.jpgA pedicab (sort of) makes use of the Broadway bike lane.
Photo: Brad Aaron

Last week’s collision between a pedicab and a yellow taxi in Brooklyn was followed by a renewed, or at least better publicized, interest from Mayor Bloomberg and the City Council in enforcing long-awaited pedicab industry standards.

The rules, initiated by pedicab companies themselves, are intended to protect passengers, pedicab drivers and the general public through, among other measures, the issuance of operator licenses and requirements related to vehicle safety. The City Council adopted the regulations in 2007, but enforcement lagged after a protracted legal battle between the city and the industry over a now-abandoned cap on pedicab licenses. 

On Tuesday, the Post ran an editorial opposing one aspect of the laws, which bar "pest-i-cabs" (ha, get it?) from bike lanes.

"[T]he bike-lane prohibition seems a little odd," Post editors wrote. "Mayor Mike’s recent green-themed streetscaping means that such lanes occupy nearly half of many blocks in Midtown — surely there’s enough room for pedicabs on them."

The New York City Pedicab Owners’ Association agrees.

"The NYCPOA officially is in favor of removing the restriction on pedicabs operating in bike lanes and actually believes it is safer for pedicabs to operate in bike lanes when they are available," spokesman Chad Marlow told Streetsblog. Marlow added, however, that the trade group supports keeping pedicabs out of tunnels and off bridges, even when the bridge has a bike lane — as the regs dictate.  

What do you think? Should bike lanes be open to pedal-powered commercial traffic, including pedicabs — or, for that matter, cargocycles — or should they be reserved for citizen cyclists? 

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