Tomorrow morning at 9:30am the Minneapolis City Council will take up the issue of expanding operating hours for pedicabs. Pedicabs in the city’s downtown have had a somewhat meteoric rise in the last four years, coming from near-banishment to their current prominent place as a fixture of Twins and Vikings games, and the late-night bar scene.
Fun fact: Pedicab licensing began in Minneapolis in 1984, but until 2009 the City never handed out more than 2. Today there are 41 licensed pedicabs.
Currently pedicabs are restricted from operating during rush hour, a time when many would argue they are needed the most. Pedicab owners are for pushing for it, and if all goes well you might soon see pedicabs cutting through traffic in the bike lanes of 1st ave and Hennepin.
The new operating hours will come at an increased regulatory burden, as pretty much everything these days does. Some of the recommended updates:
– Providing for an annual license fee of $59 for each pedicab driver in the Licenses Fee Schedule.
– Pedicab Driver Qualifications and License Minimum standards, including a valid driver’s license, a safe driving record and a criminal background check, for example, will improve accountability for driver behavior. Recent enforcement actions have included failure to obey traffic signals and transporting more passengers than recommended capacity or weight. Additionally, drivers will be required to possess their Minneapolis license while on duty which provides reassurance for customers.
– Pedicab Safety Standards The current ordinance lacks minimum safety standards for pedicabs, including disc or hydraulic brakes, vehicle lighting and proper tires. The proposed amendments identify minimum safety standards, require annual inspections to ensure that licenses are approved for safe vehicles, and will allow pedicabs to use a trailer for transporting extra passengers.
Well readers what do you think?
Have you ever ridden in a pedicab, or driven one?
We want to hear from you in our comments section.