Are new pedicab regulations a slippery slope for bicyclists?

The San Diego City Council approved new regulations for pedicabs today, which will limit the number of pedicab permits to 250, down from 400. The new city ordinance will also ban pedicabs from sidewalks as well as public roadways with speed limits of more than 25 mph, and establishes restricted operating zones downtown and in some beach areas. Pedicab operators will also be required to clearly post fare information and provide seat belts for customers. The tougher regulations, which will go into effect October 2, were championed by District 7 Councilwoman Marti Emerald after the death of Sharon Miller of Illinois, who sustained a fatal brain injury after falling from a pedicab in July.

The issue for bicyclists is that by writing all of these regulations into a city ordinance, the council doesn’t seem to be distinguishing what should be industry regulations, such as requiring fare information, seat belts, and setting permit limits, from traffic issues, like street and zone prohibitions. This potentially establishes a precedent for the council to restrict all pedal-powered traffic on certain streets or in certain zones as long as they do so under the veil of public safety. Industry regulations are fine, but shouldn’t all legal vehicles be able to travel legally on all public roadways?

Ask your council member what they think.