Welcome to San Diego Blog | July 19, 2010
San Diego Pedicab Drivers’ Heated Exchanges Continue
As I was walking with my toddler son today along the San Diego Embarcadero today, I once again saw an altercation between two pedicab drivers, one was American and the other was a foreigner. This was not the first time; in fact almost every time I walk in this area I see similar heated exchanges.
Every time I see pedicabs I am reminded of the tragic accident that occurred last summer on July 4, 2009 that took the life of retired Illinois teacher, Sharon Miller. A 23-year-old Turkish man was driving the pedicab erratically in a way that caused Sharon Miller to fall from the cart and hit her head, causing her death.
The devastating accident caused the City of San Diego to take a closer look and impose stricter regulations on pedicabs; including, limiting the number of pedicabs to about 250 at all times, requiring seatbelts, properly posting rates, and prohibiting riding on sidewalks or where traffic is driving faster than 25 miles per hour.
One issue not addressed is regulating who can get a pedicab permit. Many local pedicab drivers are calling for City officials to take a closer look and ultimately impose restrictions on who is able to get a permit. More specifically, they want the City to restrict those here in the United States on a J-1 Visa because they say that it is these pedicab drivers who are not following the rules because they know they are here only a short time before returning to their home countries. On the other hand, some foreign drivers feel they are being unfairly targeted because of the irresponsible actions of one person.
What has materialized is a great deal of negativity, and in some cases hatred, between the American drivers and some foreign drivers. The exchange I witnessed today involved yelling between two drivers, hand gestures inviting a physical confrontation, and the use of profanity including the f-word. Not at all what you want your child witnessing or people visiting our beautiful city.
Many visitors to San Diego may not know about the accident that occurred last summer, however the aftermath continues. If I were in the market for a pedicab ride I would definitely be deterred by these exchanges. The whole premise behind pedicabs is that they are supposed to be fun, but there is nothing fun about the inappropriate interaction between these drivers.
I also witnessed a group of ladies asking about pedicab fares swarmed by 4 or 5 pedicabs at once all aggressively pursuing these ladies. If I were them, I would have dismissed them all!
We are always looking for great ways to advertise for Dannecker and Associates, and pedicabs do offer advertising opportunities, but we will not consider this as an option with these negative altercations occurring. That is not the kind of publicity we are looking for.
It is clear that further regulation in this area is still necessary. Pedicabs are a fun, enjoyable way to explore our city – safety needs to be the number one priority.