Pedicabs catching on in Germany

Bicycle taxis, or pedicabs, have been thriving in Germany recently thanks to changes in national law, concerns about pollution and global warming, and a souped-up model dreamed up by former DaimlerChrysler project manager Ludger Matuszewski. The $9,000 German pedicabs — rented to operators for about $8 a day — are decked out with disc brakes, 21 gears, and an auxiliary rechargeable electric engine for use when operators need that extra boost. Because the posh modern pedicabs are relatively small and principally human-powered, they can transport their fares not only on city streets but on bike paths and in pedestrian zones as well. Popular, but unfortunately not replacing conventional taxis just yet, pedicabs are billed as a useful contribution to the overall transportation mix. “They’ve increased people’s awareness about other forms of transport,” said Christoph Rau of the European Academy of the Urban Environment.