City council votes to ban party bikes on city streets

NEWPORT – Tourists eager to pedal a party bike down Lower Thames Street will be disappointed.

On Wednesday evening, the city council voted unanimously to ban “quadricycle passenger vehicles” throughout the city.

The vote was taken in anticipation of RI 6366 Internal Billwhich passed 64 to 3 and is currently awaiting Senate review.

The bill would add “quadricycle passenger vehicle” to the list of general state law definitions for types of vehicles, along with a list of regulations for their operation. These vehicles, also known as “party bikes” or “pedal robots”, are multi-passenger pedal vehicles that have gained popularity in recent years as tourist attractions in major cities.

Those described in the invoice can accommodate up to 16 passengers, all of whom pedal to move the cart forward using a battery-powered motor.

Although these party bikes typically serve alcohol as the main attraction of the attraction, the bill would prohibit the sale or consumption of alcohol on the bikes, and require liability insurance of at least $1 million. dollars.

Previously:Newport could curb party bikes on city streets

Newport’s two House representatives, Rep. Marvin Abney and Rep. Lauren Carson, each voted in favor of the legislation.

While the bill allows the use of quadricycles in the state, it also contains a provision allowing cities to enact ordinances to further regulate them, which is why City Council Member Kathryn Leonard introduced a resolution to create an order prohibiting them.

At Wednesday’s meeting, she said bikes pose safety risks and could cause more traffic problems.

“When we think of tourists, and local people in particular, we have to think about the safety of the people who are here,” Leonard said. “I think it’s really important.”

Leonard recalled when the city rejected proposals to bring Duck Tours, amphibious tour buses that drive through water, to Newport in 1999 and later in 2012. She said she had then safety objections similar to those it now has for quadricycles.

She also pointed out that the bill’s two sponsors, Samuel Azzinaro and Arthur Handy of Cranston, represent an area that may not be as impacted by these types of commuter bikes as tourist destinations like Newport would be.

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“I found it kind of funny because I don’t know how many people in Cranston are going for a ride around town,” Leonard joked. “Hope they’re doing well in Cranston.”

Council passed the resolution unanimously, although Councilor Angela McCalla was absent.

Although she supported the resolution, Councilor Jamie Bova expressed concern about a possible missed opportunity that could result from the outright banning of vehicles. She wanted to see if there were places where these vehicles had more positive alternative uses than the more common wet circuits.

“I recognize the reservations people have, especially when it comes to drinking, because that’s definitely not something I would support, people are drinking and falling off these things all over town,” Bova said. . “I look at it from the perspective of how we’re always talking about wanting to get cars off the streets and having green power, and I just want to think outside the box to see if that’s something something that might work instead of bus or something like that in Newport.

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In response, Leonard said Newport already has several different types of vehicles on its streets, making it difficult for pedestrians to navigate the city safely. Councilman Charlie Holder agreed, saying the party bikes would make Newport look like a circus.

“Allowing these vehicles would cause more traffic and make Newport less attractive to the type of consumer we’re trying to attract,” Holder said. “I’d like to see more bikes than a fat bike of this magnitude. It’s the size of an SUV…I just don’t think that’s what we’re trying to do here in Newport.

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