Beer On Pedi Cabs Passes First Council Vote

Reported by: Webb Wright
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Updated: 4/09 10:02 am
      It's described as the ultimate bike pedal tour and bar crawl on wheels. What's missing? The beer. So far Chattanooga city ordinances have left these pedaling parties high and dry.
      "Our goal is to allow alcohol to be on the bike. Our goal is to basically have a cooler where patrons can bring beer on the bike and drink while they are on the bike," said Chris Brown, managing partner of Pints and Pedals.
      In a first reading, the council voted 5-2 with one abstention to allow patrons to bring beer on the pedicab tours.
      "This gives another piece to the tourism pie that we have here as far as night time entertainment for adults, and being able to have beer on the bike just will give an overall enhancement of the experience of being on our bike," said Pints and Pedals co-owner Dax Turner.
      There were a few amendments to the ordinance. The two beer max per rider was eliminated. Now there is no limit to the amount of beer allowed to be consumed per person. Only six pedicabs will be allowed to operate in the downtown area, and an annual $25 permit fee will be charged per cab instead of per operator permit.
      "One permit operator who has three cabs should pay more than a permit operator that has one, so it is just making it fair across the board. Setting an arbitrary number of drinks you can consume on a ride is not the way to do it. We want to make sure people consume alcohol at a safe rate and nothing more, but it should be on a case by case basis," said city councilman Chris Anderson.
      Some worry about the safety of alcohol consumption on the cabs, but councilman Anderson says the vehicle should not be treated any differently than others on the roadway.
      "There are safety concerns any time there's a motor vehicle and alcohol involved. But let's be clear, to treat this any differently from a limousine, a taxi cab, a double decker bus, we are doing a disservice to these young entrepreneurs who want to start a new business in Chattanooga. The same laws should apply to them no more and no less."
      The ordinance still has to be passed in a final vote by the council next Tuesday.  The Pints and Pedals group say they will begin the beer tour immediately after the vote.
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