"They're Only Out To Make Cold Hard American Cash"; Park Police Crack Down on Bicycle Cabs in DC

Chris | InformationLiberation
Jul. 20, 2011

There's a new threat in the District of Columbia. There is a gang of rogue criminals roaming around at the National Mall, and they're only interested in making "cold hard American cash."

Their trade? Drugs? No. Weapons sales? No. These criminals are much more dangerous.

They're none other than bicycle cab drivers, and they're some of the most hardened criminals on the planet. Fortunately, the U.S. park police have broken out the tasers and are declaring war against them and their evil profit making ways.

The Washington Examiner reports, "Pedicab problems escalate on National Mall":
The driver of a bicycle cab was Tasered twice by police, the latest run-in in an escalating battle between the drivers of rickshaw-style pedicabs and the U.S. Park Service.

The driver was trying to pick up a rider near the National Air and Space Museum, witnesses said, when he was stopped by the officer in front of hundreds of tourists.

"I hope this didn't shatter any illusions of freedom," said Tyler Clark, a pedicab driver and George Washington University Law School student who witnessed the incident.

The city's pedicabs have been running into trouble this summer near the place many of their riders want to visit: the National Mall. Drivers of the pedal-powered vehicles say they are now constantly getting harassed by the U.S. Park Police after operating for about five years without serious trouble. Some have gotten tickets for failing to secure their bikes, others have just been shooed away. One driver, Sarah Roberts, a 22-year-old student at Hampshire College, was arrested on June 14 when she said she declined to provide her ID when parked outside the Museum of American History.

"This is much worse this year," said Robert Hart, a pedicab operator in his third season. "This is at a much greater scale, virtually daily at this point."

U.S. Park Police did not return multiple calls for comment. But Bill Line, a National Park Service spokesman, said the pedicabs are engaged in illegal activity when they come onto park service property because they aren't allowed to make commercial transactions on the National Mall or the park service property around it -- including the roads.

"The pedicabs are obviously doing much more than driving a bike," he said. "The pedicabs are obviously out at the National Mall to make cold hard American cash."

The bikes aren't safe, he said. Furthermore, the Tourmobile bus service has an exclusive year-to-year contract to provide transportation services to the Mall. "We cannot allow these pedicabs to pick up and drop off because that would breach the contract with the Tourmobile," he said.
Ohhh, that evil wicked profit motive. Clearly, the millionaire cop next door and our thrifty government are far above such primitive desires. Their granting an artificial monopoly to one single company to "serve" people, on what's supposed to be considered public property, is clearly far beyond your primitive notions of profit seeking through *gasp* mutually beneficial exchange. The nice men with guns will decide who gets to provide who with any "services," capiche?

Image: Andrew Harnik/Examiner

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