City of San Diego Requirements
The San Diego Municipal Code, Chapter 8, Article 3, Division 1: Pedicabs covers the rules applicable to operating a pedicab for hire in the City of San Diego. At a minimum, you will need to obtain a Business Tax Certificate and an Operator's Permit. If you own your own pedicab, then you will be required to show proof of required insurance and have the pedicab inspected before you can obtain a vehicle permit. Beginning January 1, 2010, both Pedicab Operator permits and Vehicle permits (pedicab decal) are issued on a calendar year basis.
Pedicab regulations in San Diego have evolved significantly since thier inception in 1999. The changes reflect the City's frustration with, and ongoing efforts to gain control over, a rapidly growing industry. You can find the various iterations of the SD Municipal Code, as well as other documents, related to the San Diego pedicab program in the document library.
The most significant change to affect pedicab operations in San Diego at the beginning of 2010 was a cap on the number of pedicab decals issued for the City. This single ordinance change limiting the number of pedicabs authorized to work in preferred "zones" within the City effectively reduced the size of pedicab fleets by 60 percent and significantly restricted establishment of future pedicab businesses. The City continues to pursue legislation at the State level that would mandate a California Driver's License in order to operate a pedicab in San Diego; an effort to further restrict who may conduct pedicab business in San Diego.
San Diego Port Unified Port District
As you research required permits to operate in San Diego, you may come across regulations that govern operations in the San Diego Port District (one of the more common areas is in the Embarcadero, along the waterfront). The San Diego Unified Port District ("Port District") has existing regulations codified in the San Diego Unified Port District Code, Article 8, Section 8-07: Regulation of Pedicabs.
It should be noted however that the sections that deal with the issuance of permits have not been enforced since May 2005. According to the SD Harbor Police, issuance of Port District Pedicab Permits has been suspended - operators are only required to have current City permits.
To operate a pedicab in Balboa Park, you must obtain an Alternate Form of Transportation (AFT) Right of Entry Permit from the Park Ranger. These permits are issued by lottery the first Saturday of every month, are only good within Balboa Park, cost $53 per month and must be renewed monthly. The Park typically only issues up to five (5) AFT permits in any given month.
Operational guidelines for Balboa Park are more stringent then elsewhere in the city, specifically: Pedicabs cannot charge a fare in the Park - they work on a "Donations Accepted" basis only. Operators cannot solicit rides (commonly referred to as "pitching rides") and pedicabs cannot display commercial advertising.
Working in San Diego County
While pedicabs are plentiful downtown, they are not as common throughout the rest of the County. Generally speaking if you plan on operating a pedicab for hire in a city within San Diego County, you may need to obtain a Business License from the city where you plan to work. In August 1998 the Board of Supervisors deleted the requirement for businesses operating in Unincorporated areas to have a business license.
Note: Pedicabs are not regulated under the Uniform License Procedures in the San Diego County Code of Regulatory Ordinances (Title 1, Division 6, Chapter 1, Section 16.101) and therefor do not require additional permits from the County Sheriff.
California Vehicle Code
Bicycles are considered vehicles and are governed by the California Vehicle Code (CVC) Sections 21200 - 21210. Failure to comply with the rules of the road is dangerous and will subject you to the same fines and penalties applicable to motor vehicles. The safety of your passengers should be your number one priority - obey all traffic rules!
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