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City of Scottsdale to Regulate Popular Nightlife Pedicabs

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The operator also believes that a certain number of pedicab drivers who aren't in compliance with the ordinance like himself might risk the fines and running afoul of the law in order to earn a living.

"It's a possibility. I know that if something gets implemented, it's not like you're going to turn a switch and the rickshaw scene's gonna change," he says. "We're just guys hauling people around, just trying to help people out and make a few bucks."

Overall, however, he says the ordinance will "thin out" the number of operators rickshaws in Scottsdale, particularly independent drivers who aren't employed by pedicab fleets like Robbie's Rides or Pro Pedal Cabs, two of the bigger companies working the city.

"I do think that it will cut the rickshaw force, probably about a fourth of it, because of people paying off fines or they don't have a license or whatever else. I've heard that the blanket insurance for a fleet is a lot more economical than the individual insurance for an independent."

One such independent driver who probably won't work in Scottsdale after the ordinance goes into effect is Jim Hesselink. The 50-year-old Valley resident says that the $200 to $300 he makes in a single weekend isn't enough to justify carrying the level of liability insurance that's required for independents, which is estimated to cost anywhere from $1,500 or more annually.

"I'll probably just move," Hesselink says. "I'll just go to a different city or another state like Seattle or Chicago. Those cities aren't regulated at all. It just seems kinda strange that a big huge city like Chicago has had [pedicabs] for longer than they've been in Scottsdale and they don't really see a problem or feel laws are necessary."

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Benjamin Leatherman is a staff writer at Phoenix New Times. He covers local nightlife, music, culture, geekery, and fringe pursuits.