After Pedi-geddon


Pedi-geddon has come and gone, with minimal carnage. Mostly the cops just stopped pedicab drivers – a bunch of them more than once – and gave out multiple tickets for multiple violations. A few drivers who meticulously adhered to the rules did escape un-ticketed.

While walking and riding around midtown on Friday night and Saturday afternoon I didn’t see any pedicabs without registration plates, though I did see a few without rate cards. I also didn’t see any pedicabs getting confiscated. On Sunday afternoon, however, walking home from the 34th Street subway station, I spotted a couple Main Streets in the parking lot of the Midtown South precinct on 35th Street. One looked like its canopy was damaged; the other looked like it was in decent condition.

Right now, I – and many other pedicab drivers who waited till the last minute to apply for a pedicab driver’s license – are waiting to receive our licenses in the mail. When I applied on Wednesday November 18th I was told I’d get my license in about two weeks. I’m guessing that about 85 other drivers applied for their licenses on that day as well, and that other days that week were similarly busy – which means that there should be a significant increase in the number of pedicabs plying the streets by the end of next week.

Yesterday evening I happened across a blue Main Street sporting a tongue-in-cheek answer to the City Council’s prohibition on pedicabs in the bike lanes. I don’t recall the exact wording, but the message ran something like this: “Sorry, not allowed in the bike lane! If you don’t like it tell the City Council!”

I’m curious to see what it will be like to drive a pedicab while steering clear of bike lanes. My guess is that it will make pedicabbing more difficult, and dangerous, since it will force me to ride squarely in the stream of traffic on busy, fast-moving streets like 6th & 8th Avenues. On the other hand, riding in the bike lane can be more trouble than it’s worth, on avenues where motor weapons are prone to use it as a parking area. Skirting said motor weapons – which requires darting out into traffic – can be a bit sketchy.

I’m also wondering how motor-weapon drivers will react to pedicabs driving right down the middles of crosstown streets with bike lanes. I expect they’ll be honking at the pedicabs to get over to the side of the road – but we won’t be permitted to, by law. Which means we’ll end up slowing traffic, and possibly causing scattered outbreaks of road rage. Ah, well – can’t say I feel too sorry about that.