Pedicabs could soon have motors to help them get up hills

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Gov. Mark Dayton has signed a bill that will make it a little easier for pedicab drivers to get up hills.

It can be hard for drivers of these three-wheeled, pedal-powered cabs to pull upwards of 500 pounds on hilly terrain throughout the Twin Cities, Session Daily says.

The bill, which the governor signed into law Friday, could give the drivers a little boost.

State law already requires cities to regulate small-vehicle passenger services like pedicabs, and the new legislation gives cities the authority to decide if pedicab and rickshaw drivers can put a small electric motor on their vehicle.

It's called an electric assist – a very small motor that won't go over 20 mph.

Proponents of the bill say it will be a boon to pedicab operators. Rep. Carlos Mariani, DFL-St. Paul, who co-sponsored the bill with Sen. Sandy Pappas, said when introducing the bill that it would help drivers "to get over those last few feet over a hill," citing all of the bluffs in St. Paul.

Opponents of allowing motors on pedicabs have said they could be dangerous if traveling in bike lanes through the city, TC Daily Planet reported.

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