Minneapolis looks to regulate pubs on wheels

New measures would be similar to St. Paul’s 2012 pedal pub ordinance.
January 29, 2013

The Minneapolis City Council moved to regulate pedal pubs Monday, looking to deter noise and curb unruly riders.

 The new restrictions, proposed by Councilwoman Diane Hofstede, include requiring operators to keep noise levels down and mandate on-site bathrooms at pick-up and drop-off areas.

At the public hearing Monday, many residents of neighborhoods along pedal pub routes voiced their displeasure with the moving pubs.

Ben Hoefer said he lives near one of the pedal pub endpoints in Northeast Minneapolis, and the noise and intoxication levels are nearly driving him to move.

“We would like to raise a family in our neighborhood,” he said. “But we’ve considered moving because of these problems.”

The new measures provide reasonable regulations without restricting the entertainment business, said Linda Roberts, district supervisor for Licenses and Consumer Services.

The restrictions also include requirements for drivers to be licensed, mandatory inspections of vehicles, $2 million insurance, 10 p.m. tour conclusions and license fees per operator and vehicle.

Councilwoman Lisa Goodman, who said she agreed with the measures, went a step further by questioning why the pedal pubs are legal in the first place.

“I think it’s a terrible idea to allow open bottles on public right of ways,” she said.

While residents voiced their displeasure, pedal pub representatives said they’re fine with the restrictions and are open to work with community members.

Al Boyce, a managing partner for PedalPub, said his company already has most of the regulations in place.

He said the required off-street parking and bathroom facilities are the only things that will be a strain to accommodate.

The restrictions are similar to St. Paul’s pedal pub industry, which the city regulated last year.

Ellie Thorstad, a recent urban studies graduate of the University of Minnesota, said she went on a St. Paul pedal pub last year with some friends and the operator did a good job ensuring everyone behaved.

“[The operator] gave us the ground rules … and definitely made sure no inappropriate things were being yelled at pedestrians,” she said.

Thorstad said she’s planning on taking a pedal pub in Minneapolis and said if the new restrictions are similar to St. Paul, they won’t limit any of the fun.

“I don’t think there was anything that would be a deterrent to going again,” she said.

The measure unanimously passed the Regulatory, Energy and Environment Committee on Monday and will now head to the full council for approval.

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