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Charlotte Considers New Pedicab Ordinance

More regulations are likely coming for Charlotte pedicabs – those three-wheeled bikes that carry people around Uptown on the weekend.  A proposed ordinance goes before the Charlotte Council Monday night.  The changes the ordinance calls for are being welcomed by some pedicab operators. 

The proposed ordinance covers everything from making sure pedicab owners have insurance to what their drivers can and can’t wear.  Thomas Richards is part owner of the R and R Pedicab Company and one of the operators who’s been pushing for more regulation.

“In order to make sure we’re providing the public with good, reliable transportation as well as protecting the drivers here in Charlotte from outside competition,” Richards says.

Richards says these outside pedicab companies come into town during big events – like last year’s Democratic National Convention or this past week’s CIAA basketball tournament – and do business without a license or insurance, and use bikes that haven’t been checked for safety.

That would be prohibited under the new ordinance, which a city council workshop will discuss tonight.  It would require all pedicab operators to apply for a one-year operating permit, have an insurance policy of at least $500,000, and have their bikes inspected annually.  It also says drivers have to wear collared shirts and pants and maintain a clean and well-groomed appearance.  That may be hard come summer. 

“Last summer we had some really, really hot summer nights," Richards says.  "I mean they were still in the 90s.  Some of us sweat and some of us sweat more than others.”

Though Richards questions how the city has the authority to dictate the appearance of his drivers, overall he’s happy with the proposed new regulations.  They’re expected to be approved later this month.