CRCA president Mike Green testified in favor of new regulations for pedicabs in Central Park at the final hearing on October 21.Green stated that “the proposed park rules for pedicabs will increase safety while allowing pedicabs to continue operation.”
Up until now pedicabs have been totally unregulated. Legally they have been regarded as bicycles. Starting on November 20, the cabs and drivers must be licensed and they must carry insurance.
Many of the pedicabs have become a nuisance in the park as they block roads, ride in the wrong direction and make scary u-turns. While these actions are all currently illegal and over a thousand tickets are issued monthly, the new rules should bring more order to pedicab operation in the park.
Green stated that “when the park is open to cars, the combination of pedicabs riding near the recreation lane and joggers running in the bike lane force cyclists to dangerously dodge their way between speeding cars and cabs.”
With the new rules the pedicabs will be restricted to the rightmost lane only and they cannot drive two or three abreast. Pedicabs will also not be allowed on any paths. Designated spots will be created for picking up and dropping off passengers.
The pedicab operators at the hearing were in favor of the new licensing procedures but requested easements on park regulations to allow them to conduct walking tours of the Mall and Bethesda Fountain areas of the Park. The drivers also asked to be allowed to ride two abreast, but keeping within a single lane, when conducting a group tour.
An organization representing residents of Central Park South strongly protested against the presence of pedicabs and requested that all pickup and drop off points be located in the Park. The operator of the restaurant at the Boathouse testified that the pedicab operators have become a nuisance.
A representative of the New York Roadrunners Club spoke in favor of the regulations. They had some concern with pedicabs interfering with their races.