Santa Monica News
SANTA MONICA—Earlier this month the Santa Monica City council began
exploring the possibility of allowing pedicabs (carriages—often referred to as
rickshaws—that are powered by an operator on a bike) in certain areas of the
city. The issue was raised due to a
Business License application from Trike Pilots, Inc.
Since there are few regulations governing pedicabs in Santa Monica, the City’s Director of Finance Gigi Decavalles-Hughes, Director of Transit Services Ed King, and Chief of Police Jacqueline Seabrooks asked the Mayor and City Council to weigh in on the issue before they made a decision.
Although pedicabs are eco-friendly and are a novel means of
transport especially for tourists, city officials are concerned with their
possible negative consequences. In
cities where the use of pedicabs have been permitted, there have been cases of
serious injury and even death. Due to
these issues, the City Council will examine how other major US cities have
regulated the industry.
According to City Council documents, city officials seem to be exploring a wide variety of options when it comes to regulation. They range from no regulatory change, which would not mandate any standards for the industry or that the operator be a licensed driver, to the same regulations that govern bus drivers. Before making their decision, the City Council will also examine how any new regulations might affect the city’s budget.
Pedi-cabs have already become a popular mode of short distance transportation for tourists in 45 major US cities including New York. In 1998, the Santa Monica City council did, however, establish a one year pilot program for pedicabs. Yet, no pedicab company took advantage of the program and the City Council took no action with regards to the issue when the pilot program expired.
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