FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
June 14, 2009
MAYOR BLOOMBERG AND SPEAKER QUINN ANNOUNCE AGREEMENT ON NEW LEGISLATION TO LICENSE PEDICABS IN NEW YORK CITY
Pedicab Owners Would Get 60 Days to License Pedicabs for Use in New York City
Insurance, Lights, Seatbelts, and Weatherproof Brakes Required
Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg, Council Speaker Christine C. Quinn, and Consumer Affairs Commissioner Jonathan B. Mintz today announced an agreement on legislation to license and regulate pedicabs in New York City. Under this agreement, Speaker Quinn will introduce legislation which the Mayor will sign upon passage to create a 60 day period for licensing all pedicab vehicles for commercial use in New York City for the next 18 months. Pedicab owners will be required to carry insurance, and their vehicles will be required to pass a safety inspections that verify functioning safety equipment including headlights and taillights; passenger seatbelts; and hydraulic, disc, or drum brakes that are unaffected by rain or other wet conditions.
"Pedicabs have become an integral part of the City's streetscape for tourists and locals alike," Mayor Bloomberg said. "I have always had faith that our Administration and the City Council could find common ground on this complicated issue - and working with Speaker Quinn, we have. This legislation will address outstanding concerns and ensure that pedicab passengers get a safe ride. It's an important step forward in our efforts to keep making the streets of New York City safer than ever."
"I am gratified that we were able to come to agreement on legislation that will keep the public safe by mandating common-sense protections for pedicab drivers, passengers and pedestrians," said Speaker Christine C. Quinn. "This new law will ensure quick enforcement and keep New Yorkers and tourists safe."
"The New York City Pedicab Owners' Association is thrilled to be partnering with this legislative effort to ensure that each and every pedicab on the streets of New York is as safe as it can possibly be. We are pleased to hear the City Council will quickly consider this legislation and, when passed, Mayor Bloomberg will sign it into law," said Chad Marlow, Attorney for the NYC Pedicab Owners Association.
"Pedicabs are tourist attractions and it is important for our tourism industry and for the public that we make certain that pedicabs are safe to ride in and that they do not overwhelm our streets," said Consumer Affairs Committee Chair Leroy Comrie. "I am confident that this legislation will accomplish both of these goals. I'm looking forward to convening the consumer affairs committee in the very near future to hold hearings on this bill."
"It's like the wild west out there," said Council Member Dan Garodnick, a sponsor of the initial pedicab legislation. "Unlicensed and unregulated pedicabs can be dangerous, and it was only a matter of time before someone got hurt. The licensing and safety measures we will enact will go a long way to protecting pedicabs and their passengers, as well as everyone on the street, from unnecessary risk."
"With this breakthrough, the Department will be able to hold the pedicab industry accountable for both safe and fair operations," said Commissioner Mintz. "Pedicab operators and drivers should continue to check our website at www.nyc.gov/consumers for updates on regulations and the application process."
Today's agreement by the Mayor and the Speaker allows New York City to move forward with pedicab vehicle licensing. The Council will move quickly to amend the current law, and the Mayor will sign it upon passage. In the place of a cap on pedicab vehicle licenses, the new law would instead cap the application period. Once the law goes into effect, the Department of Consumer Affairs will accept applications that include proof of insurance and ownership of each vehicle for which a pedicab vehicle license is requested during a 60 day period. After 18 months, the cap on the Department of Consumer Affairs' ability to license pedicabs beyond those who applied during the 60 day period will elapse.
In addition to requiring insurance, Consumer Affairs will also schedule and conduct pedicab safety inspections of every pedicab vehicle for which a completed license application is filed. Before being licensed to operate, pedicabs must conform to safety standards that include (but are not limited to) a unibody frame; seating with seatbelts for no more than three passengers; brakes that are impervious to rain or wet conditions; a secondary or emergency brake system; and headlights, tail lights, and turn signals.
Pedicab vehicle licenses will be separate from pedicab driver licenses, which the Department of Consumer Affairs will also offer. The 60 day limit for applications will apply only to pedicab vehicle license applications. Updates on when pedicab vehicle and driver licenses applications will be made available will be posted on the Department of Consumer Affairs' website at www.nyc.gov/consumers.
The Department of Consumer Affairs will require all licensed pedicabs to display a sign on the interior of the vehicle within view of passengers indicating the name and telephone number of the pedicab business, the pedicab's registration number and the 311 and (212 / 718) NEW-YORK telephone numbers and nyc.gov websites to register complaints to the Department of Consumer Affairs. The Department of Consumer Affairs will also require that all licensed pedicabs have a sign conspicuously posted on the exterior of the pedicab detailing the amount to be charged for the use of the pedicab or the basis for calculating such amount.
Consistent with the City's 2007 pedicab legislation, pedicab operators will not be allowed to carry passengers on bridges or in tunnels.
Stu Loeser / Evelyn Erskine (212) 788-2958
Jamie McShane (Speaker) (212) 788-7116
Tali Aronsky / Beth Miller (Consumer Affairs)