Clan of the Bike Men

As downtown pedicabbers battle for turf and tips, major operators say city regs would end the mayhem.

Geske is pessimistic about prospects for any kind of meaningful regulations anytime soon.

"Phoenix is a hard government to work with," he says. "They don't want to look at anything or talk to anyone until someone dies. In another city you couldn't just show up and ride, but Phoenix turns a blind eye to it."

Oxford predicts that "once they start, regulations will steamroll," and he may be right.

Gary Geske in his top-secret PedalTek headquarters.
Jackie Mercandetti
Gary Geske in his top-secret PedalTek headquarters.
Billy Oxford is the godfather of pedicabbing in Phoenix.
Jackie Mercandetti
Billy Oxford is the godfather of pedicabbing in Phoenix.

In some places, such as Santa Barbara, California, city councils have regulated the pedicab industry to the hilt. These municipalities require insurance, a driver's license, a business license and even a criminal-background check. Implementing such a program here would get rid of most independents, and thus most of the accidents, but at what cost?

Would regulations mean business triumphs over lifestyle? It's a fine line for pedicabbers who may have to relinquish some of their freedom in order to survive.

E-mail susy.buchanan@newtimes.com, or call 602-229-8440.

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