Does Seattle Need Better Pedicab Regulations To Keep Riders Safe?
In 2008, Mary Dzioba and her husband were celebrating their 25th wedding anniversary in Seattle and decided to take a pedicab through the city. However, their romantic ride turned into a nightmare when the brakes on the vechile failed, sending the pair through a red light and into a minivan. Dzioba was killed when he was thrown from the cab and run over by a car. In the wake of the fatal pedicab accident, Mary sued for wrongful death, stating that the pedicab’s brakes were not fit for Seattle’s hilly streets and that the pedicab company did not take the proper precautions to prevent the accident.
Three years later, Seattle still has not taken any steps to further regulate the pedicab industry in the city or to prevent similar fatal accidents in the future. Currently, pedicab business owners in Seattle are only required to carry a business license and nothing more. Many believe that the industry would benefit from safety inspections (which would catch faulty brake systems and other maintenance issues), driver training (which would prevent accidents in which the driver was at fault) and other regulations that would keep more people safe on the roads.
Surprisingly, even the pedicab businesses themselves are asking for more regulations and safety rules. Drivers and business owner say that they are feeling ignored and in the dark – and that training and regulations would help to validate their businesses. However, Seattle officials say that beside on fatal accident three years ago, they haven’t seen problems within the industry that would necessitate more rules and regulations. In fact, they aren’t sure what the problem is, and so don’t understand what a solution would look like, according to Seattle's Director of Finance and Administrative Services.
Some believe the answer might lie in requiring pedicab businesses to carry insurance – though others worry that insurance would be hard to acquire and add fees to the business.
Unfortunately, it appears that Seattle may have to see more pedicab accidents before it looks for solutions.