City Council Votes 6-3 To Allow Drinking On Pedicabs

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Customers on two Chattanooga pedicab lines will now be able to drink while en route from bar to bar.

The City Council on Tuesday night voted 6-3 in favor of allowing the beverages on the 15-person vehicles in which the customers pedal and the driver steers.

In favor were Council members Chris Anderson, Carol Berz, Larry Grohn, Jerry Mitchell, Moses Freeman and Ken Smith. Opposed were Councilman Russell Gilbert, Vice Chairman Chip Henderson and Chairman Yusuf Hakeem.

City Attorney Wade Hinton acknowledged that the ordinance was creating an exception to the city's open container law banning open cans of drinks on public streets.

There are currently two pedicab operators.

Under the ordinance, there can be up to six vehicles on the city streets. One vendor could have all six.

They are restricted to the central business district (downtown).

Councilman Anderson said drinking on the pedicab should be regulated the same way it is in restaurants and bars  by an intoxication limit rather than a drink limit. In the original ordinance, the limit was two drinks. He said drinking two alcoholic beverages does not affect everyone the same because of factors such as weight.  

Councilwoman Berz suggested, rather than charging owners fees for licensure, charging fees per pedicab vehicle. 

Two other amendments were created requiring pedicab drivers to keep their permit with them anytime they drive the pedicab and to display their permit number on the back of the vehicle. 

During the meeting, an ordinance also passed that ended age limits on transferring firemen and police officers. 

Councilman Berz said, "I want it looked at immediately, I don't like that age limit." She pointed out that the age limit of 40 years old often excluded men transferring from the military. 

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