Pedal Cars in Metro Draw Criticism, Regulations
They're a fixture in Minneapolis, St. Paul and even in some suburbs.
Especially on nice summer days. Pedal cars are bars on bikes. As they become more popular, their presence is causing friction.
Residents in one Minneapolis neighborhood are calling for action.
Matt Peterson lives near Marshall Street in Northeast Minneapolis. He hears patrons on pedal cars coming even before he sees them, "obnoxious parade of drunken idiots all the time, a lot of people in the neighborhood have problems with traffic problems they cause."
There have been complaints to City Hall. Twenty-five in June alone, "they've been quality of life and livability complaints where people were saying they were creating a lot of noise, in some cases litter," according to Grant Wilson, who heads Minneapolis Licensing.
Peterson took his frustrations further, creating signs for folks to post in their yards. He even made a Facebook page criticizing the industry.
There are two companies in the Twin Cities, "we've gone a long way in addressing those issues already," says Lisa Staplin, a Manager with Pedal Pub.
Since it's such a new industry and has only around since 2009, the pedal cars haven't been regulated before. But with complaints rolling in and the explosion in business, it's nearly tripled from 700 tours a season to more than 2,000, that regulators at Minneapolis City Hall took notice.
For the first time, inspections are required, drivers must be licensed, owners insured, plus a curfew is in place and tours aren't allowed downtown during rush hour.
Rules, Staplin claims her company has already been following, "We've always ended at 10:00 we've made great strides in choosing a starting and ending location, we've tried to be cognizant of the area, tried to stay away from more residential neighborhoods."
The friction reached a point where city regulators mediated between neighbors and the pedal car companies. They had one meeting recently. Since then, the complaints have dropped dramatically.