Last Wednesday morning a bad accident occurred on the Brooklyn side of the Williamsburg bridge, involving a pedicab and a taxi.
The driver of the pedicab, 42, Nicholas Nicometi was in serious condition at Manhattan’s Bellevue Hospital.
There were 3 passengers of the pedicab who were injured in the crash.
This story was reported on in the NY Times.
Four Hurt When a Pedicab Slams Into a Taxi in Brooklyn
(photo by: Theodore Parisienne)
A witnesses said the pedicab had just crossed the Williamsburg Bridge and was â€œcoming off the bridge fastâ€ when it hit a taxi. By AL BAKER and MICHAEL M. GRYNBAUM
Published: June 10, 2009
Read the complete article here.
It should be noted that this accident occurred at 7:30 in the morning and brings up several issues about pedicabs and bicycle infrastructure here in NYC.
1) Who the hell takes a pedicab at 7:30am from Manhattan to Brooklyn? Although any accident of this nature is tragic, its seems rather random and reeks that the participants were not in a sound state and perhaps this was some sort of “joyride.”
2) The pedicab was traveling on the South path of the Williamsburg Bridge which is not the ideal route. The North side is much wider and doesn’t empty out into a busy street with limited visibility of on coming traffic. This is a dangerous design for any cyclist and would make sense to separate bikes from pedestrians on two paths which seems to be a rather consistent occurrence on the Manhattan Bridge. Its not official, but most people seem to get the idea that bikes only go on one side and besides the South side of the Manhattan bridge has stairs instead of a bike path acting as a natural deterrent.
3) There is currently a legal fight about regulating pedicabs which if resolved, may have helped to deter the accident and the injuries. Most of the parties involved can agree that safety standards need to be in place such as seat belts and laws against traveling on bridges or in tunnels, but Pedicab advocates are not happy with current legislation which would limit the numbers of the cabs given licenses.
This has now changed since the initial proposed rules of 2007 which is reported on in this recent NY Times article entitled:
Stalled Plan to License Pedicabs Advances
By MICHAEL M. GRYNBAUM
Published: June 15, 2009
The city will move forward with its long-stalled regulation of pedicabs, officials said on Sunday, four days after an accident in Brooklyn seriously injured a driver and focused attention on the lack of oversight of the tourist-friendly tricycles.
Owners of the pedal-powered cabs would have a 60-day window to register with the city, under a proposal announced by the mayor and the City Council speaker. Those who provide proof of ownership and insurance would receive a license, providing that their vehicles pass a safety examination.
The proposed rules are a shift from the cityâ€™s first attempt at regulating the industry in 2007, when the city insisted on a limit to the number of licenses it would issue. Pedicab owners sued, arguing the cap would hurt established businesses, and regulation was held up for two years.