When a pedicab operator crashed into a yellow cab in Brooklyn injuring two of his three passengers, a debate that had been on the back burner was in the news again. Pedicab operators, up until now, have been driving the streets of New York City unregulated ⎯ and causing injuries. Like other vehicle operators on our city streets, they should be held accountable for the harm they cause.
If you were the victim of a pedicab accident in New York City, contact Schwartzapfel Lawyers, P.C. at (516) 342-2200 or complete our online form today to discuss your case with us.
As pedicab advocates were quick to point out, if the city had been enforcing pedicab safety regulations passed in 2007, the unfortunate incident would have probably never have happened. In the meantime, pedicab operators have been weaving in and out of traffic in one of the busiest cities in the world – without licenses or safety precautions for their passengers.
The safety regulations, which were passed in 2007, would have required that pedicabs:
- Obtain a license through the city;
- Carry clearly visible fare cards similar to those in taxis;
- Carry no more than three passengers at a time;
- Be equipped with seat belts;
- Refrain from traveling in bike lanes and on bridges and in tunnels;
- Carry insurance.
The law was stalled when it became the subject of a lawsuit between the city and pedicab owners, due to a cap on the number of pedicab licenses set at 325. Estimates are that there are between 500-1,000 pedicabs operated in New York City, so the cap was cited as potentially putting a majority of pedicab operators out of business. The courts ruled in favor of the pedicab owners just before the unfortunate accident, opening the door for the city to pass new regulations.
Due to the lawsuit, the regulations were unenforceable and new legislation had to be drafted. Now the City Council members and Mayor Michael Bloomberg are promising to bring this issue to a swift resolution. The Council has announced agreement on new proposed legislation to regulate the pedicabs. If it is passed, the pedicab businesses will have 60 days to submit applications to register their pedicabs with the Department of Consumer Affairs (DCA). The pedicabs will be required to meet insurance and safety requirements as well as pass a DCA inspection. The legislation will allow for the enforcement of the safety measures originally set forth in the 2007 regulations. The city will publish updates at http://www.nyc.gov/consumers, including when the new law will take effect and when license applications will be available to pedicab businesses and drivers.
If you are ever involved in a pedicab accident, make sure to document as much about the accident as you can. Taking photos of the accident scene, even with a cell phone camera, can be very helpful in building your case. If the pedicab operator has a license number, write it down along with all other identifying information about the pedicab company.
At Schwartzapfel Lawyers, P.C., our attorneys want to know if you have been injured in a pedicab accident. There have already been several injuries from pedicab accidents that have resulted in lawsuits. If you were injured in a pedicab accident, you may be entitled to money for your injuries and your medical expenses. You only have a short window to file any complaints, however, so don’t delay. Contact the New York City law firm of Schwartzapfel Lawyers, P.C. at (516) 342-2200 or complete our online form to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation today.