We hear it over and over, why aren't there more pedicabs in Philadelphia?
Well it's not like entrepreneurs haven't tried. The problem is whenever a business tries to set up, someone in the city's bureaucracy tries to shut them down.
Take the first foray of Philadelphia Pedicabs in 2005. On the first night of business on South Street, Philadelphia Police officers ordered the owner of Philadelphia Pedicab, who was driving one of his pedicabs, to get off the street. Apparently, the police officers were not versed in Title 75 of PA Consolidated Statutes, which states: Every person riding a pedalcycle upon a roadway shall be granted all of the rights and shall be subject to all of the duties applicable to the driver of a vehicle
Denied access to the best revenue location in the city, Philadelphia Pedicabs eventually folded.
Next came Chariots of Philly. They have been operating quietly and successfully in Manayunk for the past few years. The minute they tried to operate a convenient transportation option in the congested Stadium Area for Eagle's games, L&I ordered them to cease operations and impounded one of their bike trailers. A hearing is scheduled in May to uphold the cease operations order. Chariots of Philly have, for now, settled on expanding service in the friendlier confines of Avalon NJ.
Then last year a bill was introduced in City Council that threatened the basic rights of all bicyclists:
AN ORDINANCE Amending Title 12 of The Philadelphia Code, entitled "Traffic Code," by adding certain definitions and by amending Section 12-800, entitled "Bicycle Regulations and Penalties," prohibiting pedalcycles that seat more than two passengers from roadways, all under certain terms and conditions.
The Bicycle Coalition contacted the bills sponsor, Councilman DiCicco. As a result a hearing on the bill was canceled and no further action was taken.
It is time for Philadelphia to allow all modes of transportation, be it by foot, by pedal power, or by carbon fuels.
It is time for Philadelphia to encourage all entrepreneurs, for that too helps all Philadelphians and its visitors.
It is particularly time for Philadelphia to encourage and celebrate "green" initiatives like Pedicabs. We hope the city will quickly do what it needs to, and allow all of us to see and use Pedicabs this spring.