Provisions within Chicago’s pedicab ordinance threaten to put hundreds of pedicab operators out of work. The ordinance, which took effect June 7, 2014, was introduced “in the interest of preserving public health and safety or avoiding traffic congestion”. However, no collisions or injuries were cited or traffic studies conducted.
The Chicago Pedicab Association maintains pedicabs are a safe, non-polluting way to travel and reduce traffic congestion. We are working to change these key elements of the newly passed pedicab ordinance:
- The prohibition of pedicabs in the Loop during rush hour and all times on Michigan Av. and State St., from Congress Pkwy to Oak St. This district represents our largest customer base and the bulk of the destinations they want to visit or tour. Navigating the largely one-way downtown street grid is nearly impossible without access to these key streets. The Department of Transportation recommends these geographic and temporal restrictions be reduced.
- The requirement that pedicab operators have held a driver’s license for a period of at least one year. Many pedicab operators haven’t needed a driver’s license, traveling by walking, biking and public transit. Numerous safe, courteous pedicab operators with many years of experience will be denied “pedicab chauffeur licenses”.
- The severity of the fines and penalties. As written, a single infraction, as small as a missing wheel reflector, can be punishable by a $500 fine, vehicle impounding and the revocation of both the owner’s “Pedicab License” and operator’s “Pedicab Chauffeur’s License” for 5 years. The minimum fine for any 2nd violation within 12 months is $500.
The CPA applauds the requirements within the ordinance concerning vehicle and operator licenses, license plates, posting of fares, insurance, safety devices and ground transportation tax. We feel these requirements are more than enough to ensure public safety, responsible operation and consumer protection.