Our archive is under development, but here is an article that started it
all for the owner of Manhattan Rickshaw Company. Back
in 1992, the pedicab operators in San Francisco were coming under some
pressure by a few merchants in Fisherman's Wharf, an area popular for
tourists and for all things, shall we say, "touristic." The pedicab
owners thought they deserved a place to wait for passengers, and
eventually the city agreed, and gave them space. A victory. Nice.
This is not unlike the current challenge facing the New York City pedicab
industry, which is now facing new city government regulation in the form
of Regulation 331-A (see www.nycpoa.org for further information or click on
the NYCPOA logo on our home page). Regulation 331-A limits the number of
pedicabs that will be allowed on city streets to just 325. That's 325 for
the entire city. Yes, we lobbied the city council members tirelessly. We
learned we had a few friends in Council, but we had overwhelming odds.
We are facing an uncertain future.
331-A sets forth operating rules (which we otherwise agree with), except
for the rule denying us the right to use bike lanes (!), ride a pedicab
empty across a New York City bridge (hey: we pay taxes, too!), as well as
stifling pedal-vehicle development by banning electric assist pedicabs.
Electric-assist bicycles are all the rage in Europe, you might not know.
Even respected U.S. brand Schwinn is making electric-assist cruiser bikes!
And a federal law states that any electric assist with a motor output of
one horsepower or less is to be classified as a bicycle.
But this is only the beginning of another chapter of the pedicab story.
We hope in the future you can trade carbon offsets for pedicab rides. Did
we mention that we carried Tribeca Film Festival guests from a screening
of environmental films introduced by Al Gore, of "An Incovenient Truth"
fame, to an after-screening event? [see photo above]
Enjoy the story from 1992, and more to follow.....