Pedicabs and NYC Bike Month

May is NYC Bike Month. With the great weather earlier this month, it seemed like pedicabs, a tricycle with a 2-seated wagon, are coming out of the woodwork. As I cross the street from my office to Grand Central Station I see happy, relaxed passengers sitting in the back of pedicabs conversing with their driver. This is the first summer that the new rules concerning pedicabs are in effect.

Taxi drivers and pedestrians have expressed pleasure with the results of the new rules that went into effect on November 30, 2009. But the industry itself may not be as pleased although its unhappiness may, in part, be related to the economy. The rules require that all pedicabs be inspected, insured, registered, and equipped with seatbelts and tail lights and that all pedicab drivers be licensed by the Department of Consumer Affairs.

There are fewer complaints from pedestrians and taxi drivers of pedicab operators running red lights, going the wrong way down one-way streets, being driven on sidewalks or in no parking zones, and aggressive drivers harassing passersby for a fare. Still, it remains unclear how deeply the changes have affected business. There has been a massive amount of lost revenue from pedicabs sitting idle because, according to the city’s Department of Consumer Affairs, there are currently 943 registered pedicabs and 490 licensed drivers. One company claims to have seen an 80 percent drop in revenue from December of 2009.

Another issue is that city infrastructure hasn’t accounted for pedicabs yet.There is a lack of taxi-stands for pedicabs, rules forbid pedicabs from riding across any of the city’s bridges or in bike lanes, and there is a continuing dispute with the Department of Parks and Recreation over how and where pedicabs can give tours through Central Park.

As part of NYC Bike Month, taking place the first Sunday in May each year is Bike New York, a 42-mile bicycle run that begins in lower Manhattan and ends at a festival on Staten Island. Its mission is to encourage cycling, promoting one of the most eco-friendly forms of recreation and transportation day in and day out. This year 15,441 riders of the approximate 32,000 total participated in the event for the first time. The emcee of the event is Bruce Cousin Brucie Morrow.

In terms of the impact on the environment, if the same number of cars drove 42 miles, they would burn more than 60,000 gallons of gas and emit more than a million pounds of carbon dioxide. Some fun facts cited on the website include 31,372 revolutions of bike wheels on an average adult bike 11,279 revolutions of the crank on an average adult bike 1.3 million bicycle miles traveled by participants 10,000+ riders per hour on the FDR Drive during “rush hour” peak.

The lawyers at Levine & Slavit have decades of experience handling personal injury claims including those involving bike and pedicab accidents. For over 50 years spanning 3 generations, we have obtained results for satisfied clients. We have offices in Manhattan and Long Island, handling cases in New York City, the Bronx, Brooklyn, Queens, and surrounding areas. If you or someone close to you has been injured in a bike or pedicab accident in New York City or Long Island, contact the New York personal injury lawyers at Levine & Slavit for their help. To learn more, watch our videos.

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