If you are from New York City, you are no doubt familiar with pedicabs. A pedicab is a small pedal-operated vehicle which serves as a taxi. These vehicles are especially popular with tourists, as many cities in the United States do not have pedicabs. However, despite their immense popularity, the use of pedicabs leads to many accidents in NYC every year.
Part of what makes pedicabs so popular, especially with tourists, is their open-air nature. This provides a unique feel and also affords a terrific view for sight-seeing. However, this lack of a solid enclosure is also a lack of protection for drivers and passengers. In other words, what would typically be a benefit of pedicabs becomes a liability in the event of an accident. In addition to their open-air nature, pedicabs also tend to be less maneuverable than cars, motorcycles, or bicycles. When sharing the road with these other vehicles, the pedicab is at a decided disadvantage when it comes to the ability to avoid an accident.
According to the New York City Police Department, there have already been at least 12 pedicab accidents in NYC in January through July 2015 alone, which does not even account for unreported incidents. With pedicabs accidents on the rise, and their popularity growing, there are certain things every New Yorker should know about these vehicles before taking a ride, and in case of an accident.
According to the NYC Dept. of Consumer Affairs (“DCA”), a pedicab cannot operate in NYC without a special registration plate issued by the DCA. Further, new plates can only be issued when the number of registered pedicabs falls below 840. Pedicab owners are also required to use a timer to determine rates, post a sign on both exterior sides of the pedicab with the price per minute per ride and additional information, and distribute to all passengers a Pedicab Information Card, which includes important information and serves as a receipt. A pedicab business must also obtain insurance where the minimum insurance amount is $2,000,000 combined single limit for injury or death of one or more persons, and damage to or destruction of property, with a maximum of $1,000,000 for each accident.
In the event of an accident, an operator must submit a written accident report within 24 hours after the occurrence. If the accident results in death or a person sustaining an injury that requires medical treatment, the operator must notify the Department of Consumer Affairs immediately via phone, fax, and/or e-mail as provided on the accident report. The operator is also required to provide his or her name, address, and information about liability insurance coverage to any person sustaining physical injury or property damage in the accident.