Chattanooga Doesn't Trust Adults to Peddle You Across a Bridge in Enormous Tricycles

The Chattanooga Times Free Press published an editorial obituary for a pedicab company killed by regulations this week.

Buzz Chattanooga was supposed to schlep people around the Scenic City in the backs of oversized tricycles. Christian “Thor” Thoreson and his partner Christina Holmes hoped the company would appeal to official hoping to boost tourism and minimize drunk driving and congestion. They jumped through a bunch of hoops to get the business off the ground. 

The city ordinance limited the number of pedicab permits available, capping the number of pedicabs serving Chattanooga to just six. Each pedicab permit requires a $100 fee.

Those six pedicabs have to be outfitted with a horn, a rearview mirror, headlights, taillights and turn signal.

Pedicab drivers are required to go through an intensive licensing process by the city, including passing a test given through the Chattanooga Police Department Regulatory Bureau Transportation Inspector’s office, as well as being subjected to a drug screening and a background search.

City regulations don’t allow pedicabs to cruise for passengers — they must remain parked and wait for customers. Strangely, even though cars often come much closer, pedicabs must stay at least 10 feet away from horse-drawn carriages. The vehicles also can’t be operated in public parks.

But there was one rule so silly that they were sure they could convince the city council to make an exception:

Sec. 35-251(3) of the Chattanooga City Code states that a “pedicab driver shall not operate a pedal carriage or pedicab on any bridge or in any tunnel.”

The rule was designed to prevent dangerous situations at high speeds in cramped space. But Buzz mostly wanted access to the Walnut Street pedestrian bridge where the stakes are considerably lower so that they could ferry passengers to all parts of the city. No dice, said Chattanooga.

Just a couple of months ago, Buzz owners were posting happy, overly long videos celebrating their one year anniversary. But now they've changed their tune:

Asked what he’d tell another entrepreneur considering starting a business in Chattanooga, Thoreson replied, “Stay the hell away.

This week, they decided to throw in the towel. 

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  • BarryD||

    It's unsurprising that human trafficking is illegal. Selling people hasn't been legal in the US for 150 years.

  • BarryD||

    Still no spelling correction? LOL

    I, for one, celebrate the fact that peddling people has been illegal in Tennessee since 1863...

  • db||

    I came here to say this. Too bad I'm so far behind the times.

  • Fist of Etiquette||


  • Rich||

    Strangely, even though cars often come much closer, pedicabs must stay at least 10 feet away from horse-drawn carriages.

    *** rising intonation ***

    I think I see how Chattanooga can make money ....

  • o3||

    it works out cause all the fatties woulda kilt em anyways

  • CampingInYourPark||

    Probably would have been killed by someone with road rage after having to follow them across a bridge anyway

  • wareagle||

    they're not allowed on bridges, not that they would have wanted to anyway. It was for the downtown area. Makes you wonder how places like Savannah, New Orleans, and others managed to get horse drawn carriage tours up and running.

  • CampingInYourPark||

    Apparently they already have horse drawn carriages in Chattanooga you aren't supposed to come within 10 feet of with a giant tricycle.

  • CampingInYourPark||

    "But Buzz mostly wanted access to the Walnut Street pedestrian bridge where the stakes are considerably lower so that they could ferry passengers to all parts of the city."

    I can't get outraged about this one either. Pedestrian bridges are for fucking pedestrians.

    That is all

  • wareagle||

    my bad; missed the part about the pedestrian bridge. If he was allowed on it, teh horse folks would want on, and then it's not what the name implies anymore.

  • Paul.||

    , teh horse folks would want on, and then it's not what the name implies anymore.

    That would take it from a pedestrian bridge to an equestrian bridge.

  • R C Dean||

    Do they allow bicycles on the bridge?

  • KWebb||

    All the road bridges in Chattanooga are at least four lanes. If anyone would have gotten stuck behind a pedicab it would have been their own damn fault for not changing lanes a half mile back.

  • ||

    Pedestrian bridges are for fucking pedestrians.

    I was walking across the Walnut Street Bridge one day when a group of tourists on Segways passed going the opposite direction. Five seconds later I heard a commotion behind me and turned around to see one of the tourists on the ground with their Segway next to them spinning uncontrollably like a top. I thought it was supposed to be next to impossible to lay one of those things down but I was entertained. Thank goodness regulations requiring a helmet were in force. In fairness this used to be a bridge for cars so there is enough room for everyone. Even giant tricycles. I would be a lot more concerned about the hills. It would be fun to see one of those things flying down Lookout Mountain.

  • Jerry on the road||

    I guess the local taxi mafia didn't like competition.

  • The Late P Brooks||

    Pedestrian bridges are for fucking pedestrians.

    Tulpa Lite strikes again.

  • The Hammer||


  • Proprietist||

    I, for one, support the banning of pedo-cabs.

    Oh, pedicabs...

  • Paul.||

    The goal is to create jobs. The government never said where those jobs would be created.

    A young couple trying to start a business creates two jobs, maybe one or two more if they hire a couple of extra riders.

    The government licensing, oversite and regulatory departments create tens or even hundreds of jobs.

  • Pro Libertate||

    See Rock City!

    I like Chattanooga and have spent quite a bit of time there. Please visit and spend your money. The Walnut Street bridge is pretty cool, too, though I guess you'll have to walk across it now.

  • PapayaSF||

    Thank heavens we have government to protect us from the awful scourge of pedal-driven vehicles in public parks! Chattanooga just escaped turning into Somalia.

  • Brian from Texas||

    When I first became a truck driver I had to go through less bullshit to get my CDL!

  • LibertarianAmazon||

    Ah, the stifling oppressiveness of punctilious bureaucrats and their byzantine rules.


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