About the “funkiness” of those pedicabs | Street Jazz

About the “funkiness” of those pedicabs

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The term “funky” can cover a multitude of sins, as can the new catchphrase “ green jobs.”

More than a few people across the country are creeped out by the whole notion of pedicabs, what might charitably be described as really big tricycles that carry passengers behind them. These now operate in the downtown Fayetteville area, where a sturdy stalwart will take said passengers to such places as restaurants, the Walton Arts Center (where perhaps they might enjoy a musical about poverty and the plight of the working poor) and even Razorback games.

I was creeped out as a kid watching rickshaws in movies about Shanghai, and I am getting the same feeling now.

“Foul! Not the same thing at all!” comes the cry from the pedicab supporters.

But Funky isn’t just about how pretty things are.

And aren’t human beings included in the “environmentally-friendly” term? Aren’t they one of the most important parts?

Before the city lets pedicabs use the city trails - day or night - it has a right to know how much people are actually making at these jobs, “independent contractor” label be damned. How much money is the owner making, compared to what the drivers/peddlers are making?

What about safety considerations? And not just for the trails, but for the modern-day rickshaw drivers?

Insurance? Who pays if the driver is injured?

Oh, yeah, they’re independent contractors.

And the whole notion of independent contractors - unless you’re a writer or an international assassin - is uncomfortable, too uncomfortable for a city to get too close to. You can’t be progressive part of the time and then get all warm and cuddly with something that goes against the grain of what you try to stand for.

By allowing pedicabs to use the trail system the city would give a seal of approval (well, it already did that, I guess) to not only the business, but the business practices involved.

I realize that pedicabs re popular across the country, and that not everyone has the same moral qualms that I do about them. But the whole notion of underpaid human beings (with little to no insurance coverage) peddling like mad to make a buck isn’t really my idea of funky.

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Bill of Rights for Pedicab passengers?

New York City may be leading the way with a Bill of Rights for pedicab passengers. It might be worthwhile for Fayetteville, the New York City of the Ozarks, to take a look at that, and see if any of it might be applicable for us.

Now, that would be funky.

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“This moment of sudden non-tranquility brought to you by_______”

It might be one thing to make an exception to Fayetteville’s sign ordinance and allow ads on pedicabs on city streets, but pedicabs and ads (even if they are moving ads) on city trails?

That’s a slippery slope the city may want to think long and hard about before they give the okay on that proposal.

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Quote of the Day

Large, naked, raw carrots are acceptable as food only to those who live in hutches eagerly awaiting Easter. - Fran Lebowitz


rsdrake@cox.net

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