Richard Epstein on Pedicab Regulation

Richard Epstein on Pedicab Regulation
Richard A. Epstein
June 23, 2009

Around 7:30 a.m., on June 10, 2009, a pedicab driver crashed into a taxicab while getting off the Williamsburg Bridge, injuring himself and his passenger. The pedicab driver was at fault and presumably liable both for personal injuries and property damage.

That's the small story. The large story is that four days later, Mayor Michael Bloomberg and City Council Speaker Christine Quinn proudly announced New York City will finally impose regulation on the growing pedicab industry, with the blessing of its trade association, which only two years before had beaten back an earlier version of these regulations.

The new regulatory system will license pedicab drivers, mandate liability insurance and impose detailed safety rules on such issues as brake pads, headlights, taillights and vehicular size. Similar regulatory initiatives are afoot in both Chicago and London. This regulatory boomlet poses two challenges to regulation: why and how?