Recently, 12 people suffered injuries when a PedalPub they were riding was rear-ended by a car in Minneapolis. According to Pioneer Press, the Pedalpub was crossing Hennepin Avenue Bridge when a Chevrolet Monte Carlo rear-ended it. As a result of the impact, the PedalPub rolled, pinning some passengers beneath it. The driver of the vehicle that rear-ended the PedalPub was arrested when police arrived. Some speculate that alcohol may have been involved.
The risk of riding a bike on busy city streets have long been a subject of much discussion. Yet, when passengers choose to ride in pedicabs and PedalPubs they are often choosing to ride in vehicles subject to the same vulnerabilities as bikes. Many of these vehicles operate during evening hours when more drunk drivers and fatigued drivers are likely to be on the road.
PedalPubs have received criticism in Minneapolis, Minnesota for blocking traffic and creating a ruckus on city streets. A PedalPub is essentially a party bike where people ride, bike, and drink in what is essentially a larger version of a pedicab that also happens to be equipped with an open bar. Ideally the PedalPub has a biker and a bartender—each with his or her own duties, but the rowdy PedalPub environment isn’t one conducive to the most focused driving conditions, even if the driver is only focused on driving and not on serving drinks.
Yet, when cars and pedicabs and Pedipubs collide, the personal injury implications of these collisions may not always be clear-cut. For instance, according to Forbes, a pedicab driver who collided with car on the Williamsburg Bridge was found negligent and was responsible for all injuries. While larger cities like New York, Chicago, and London have decided to regulate pedicabs, requiring operators to have proper liability insurance and licenses, in many cities, pedicabs and PedalPubs remain unregulated.
Regulation has been subject to much debate. While some believe that passengers need to be protected from the personal injury risk they take on when they board these vehicles, others believe that the state should avoid unnecessary regulation of vehicles that are essentially just another kind of bike. Some worry that extreme licensing or insurance requirements will drive pedicab operators out of business.
Others argue that pedicabs shouldn’t be allowed to operate on highways or bridges. For instance, in the accident that took place in Minneapolis, the PedalPub had been operating on a bridge.
Clearly, in a case where alcohol use is involved, the negligent driver should always be held financially accountable for injuries sustained by victims. But, not every pedicab accident is so clear-cut. Sometimes bikers make mistakes. Unfortunately, cars have a chassis to protect passengers while pedicabs do not. In this case, proper insurance can ensure that injured victims receive compensation for their injuries should the pedicab operator be negligent in an accident.
The Law Office of Martin T. Montilino is a personal injury firm in Minneapolis, Minnesota that handles a range of bike, car, and even pedicab personal injury cases. Contact us today if you’ve been injured in an accident on the road.