Those of us who are San Diego bound are gearing up for many things, including the inevitable oceans of pedicabs swarming like seagulls over every scrap of pedestrian. But a lengthy LA Times report on the pedicabs of San Diego reveals that the city is acting to curb these ubiquitous peddlers:
But the tourist tradition has become a civic nuisance as the number of pedicabs has soared in recent years. Competition for customers can get ugly, and some operators are breaking traffic laws, prompting calls for stricter city regulation.[snip] Drivers from San Diego grumble about increased competition from foreign students who come to town on four-month visas to operate pedicabs. The students — mostly from Turkey and Russia but also from Brazil, Jamaica, Kazakhstan, Croatia and elsewhere — worry about making enough money to pay their rent or next year’s tuition.
According to the piece, the number of pedicab licenses issued has soared from 338 in 2007 to 643 in 2008, to 917 in 2009 already.
Apparently more focus was placed on these “beggars on bikes” after a 60-year-old Illinois woman died after tumbling from a pedicab.
Let’s face it, if there one thing we don’t want to read in our obituary, it’s “died in a tragic pedicab tumble.” We’re planning to carry a pedicab swatter and stick to gasoline-powered hired cars.