Minneapolis Cracks Down on Pedicabs

Minneapolis is trying to curb crazy pedicab drivers

Minneapolis is trying to curb crazy pedicab drivers

Any time there's an event in downtown Minneapolis, traffic turns into an impatient mess of cars, buses, taxis, light rail, semis, bikes, and pedestrians all jostling for position so they can blow through the next yellow light on the way to (or away from) the action.

Now the city is trying to rein in perhaps the most unwieldy combatant in the traffic jam ecosystem: the pedicab.

See also: The "I hate the Pedal Pub" Facebook Page is Hilarious

Yesterday a City Council committee approved three new operating conditions placed on the city's largest pedicab company's license.

According to Grant Wilson, the city's business licensing manager, Twin Town Pedicabs drivers were issued 22 citations by police from May to October this year for a range of unsafe traffic maneuvers. They included:

  • Nine tickets for parking in a bike lane
  • Six tickets for parking on a sidewalk, weaving in and out of traffic, or illegal U-turns
  • Four tickets for parking in no stopping zones
  • Three tickets for running red lights or having too many people on board

Wilson said the number of tickets was serious enough to bring in Twin Town owner Colin McCarty to talk about training and enforcement strategies.

"This was definitely a mutual agreement, but [Twin Town] was getting quite a few citations. They have so many drivers that some of them can really operate dangerously, especially during special events," said Wilson.

McCarty wholeheartedly agreed with the city's assessment and stressed he does everything he can to ensure the drivers of his 46 pedicabs aren't acting like jackasses.

"In certain extreme cases I've actually gone out and kicked a guy off a pedicab in the middle of the street and taken it back to my shop," he said. "I live downtown, I work downtown, and I'm constantly monitoring making sure everyone is behaving. Nothing the city is asking me to do isn't something I'm doing already, now I just have to write it down."

The city is requiring McCarty to put together a policy and procedure manual for drivers, conduct covert self-monitoring at least twice a month, and institute an employee training program.

Wilson said drivers with multiple violations can have their pedicab license pulled, but he couldn't recall if the city had ever actually done that.

Send story tips to Ben Johnson.