The Rise of the Pedicab: Municipal Regulation of an Emerging Industry

Over the past decade, pedicabs—bicycles with chariots attached that carry passengers for a fee—have grown from a quaint novelty to a full-grown industry in the United States. Once a relic of Southeast Asia, pedicabs can now be found transporting tourists and residents alike in dozens of American cities. Born out of the minds of several entrepreneurs, American pedicabs got their start in New York and San Diego, and these cities combined now have more than a thousand operating pedicabs. But the pedicab industry’s growth has been resisted by competing businesses that fear the loss of customers—notably the taxicab industry—and by local governments concerned about public safety. This Note examines the evolution of pedicab regulations in New York and San Diego, and then analyzes whether the various regulations each city has adopted truly benefit the public. The Note then culls the best regulations for inclusion in a list of provisions for a Model Pedicab Code.