Mar 14, 2009

New York City: Pedicabs, Bicycle Taxis & Bears, Oh My!

So we're down on the banks of the Hudson River and we need to get to Penn Station in 15 minutes to catch a train to Newark & a plane to Charlotte & a car to Columbia & a horse to our country town. OK, I'm pushing it. But if you've been to my town, you know the horse is a possibility.
Traffic is in gridlock on this warm Sunday afternoon as everyone and their mother's goin' home after a day in the city.
Taxis can't move, no way we're getting in one.
Then this dude pedals up to us.
Tom says, "Can you get us to Penn Station in 15 minutes?"

"Try me."

Y'see, this little bicycle cart isn't bound by traditional traffic laws.
Silly, silly little traffic laws.
Traffic, Schmaffic, I spit in your face.
We zigged & we zagged through bumper to bumper traffic.
Bicycle taxis, or rickshaws, are a growing business in NYC, despite the accident in 2005 in which one was crushed by a bus and the passengers sued for 12 million, received only one million, and the bicyclist filed chapter 13.
But we didn't know about that then.
So we rode.
Straight across 4 lanes of traffic.
& straight through a red light.

& straight up the wrong side of the street, passing everyone else who is staying on the correct side of the double yellow lines, (so old school!).

Shoot, we even went up the sidewalk.
And the driver?
He thinks it's all good 'cause he held out his hand, like that was gonna stop a car or a bus, and he said "thank you ... thank you ... excuse me ... pardon me .. bless you" as he skinned a car or popped in front of a truck.
Bicycle taxis (pedicabs) have been running for ten years or more and as far as I can tell, they remain unregulated. Our driver was extremely friendly & knew the city well. He is a 46 year old runner who finds pedaling people around a great way to stay in shape and make $40 an hour or more with little expense. He also claimed to be a personal fitness trainer during his day job.
Yes, we made it to Penn Station & made our train.
With time to spare.
If you're going to NYC, take a pedicab.
Make sure your life insurance is up to date.

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