PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — Tourists may soon be able to hop aboard a “party bike” and explore all of what Rhode Island has to offer.
The R.I. House passed legislation earlier this month that would authorize the use of quadricycle passenger vehicles, also known as “party bikes” and “pedal crawlers,” in communities that wish to allow them.
Quadricycle passenger vehicles, according to the bill’s sponsor Rep. Arthur Handy, are described as four-wheeled vehicles pedaled by multiple passengers and controlled by one operator.
“Quadricycle passenger vehicles are a tourism opportunity in many other popular tourist destinations, and Rhode Island’s tourism industry should benefit from them too,” Handy explained. “They offer a fun, moderately active way to experience a city up close, and I would expect that they’d become income generators wherever they operate because they’d give our visitors a good look at the restaurants, shops and attractions that they can patronize when they get out.”
While the vehicles also serve as mobile bars for sightseers in other tourist destinations, Handy said his legislation wouldn’t allow alcohol to be served on board.
The legislation spurred from a request by a Westerly business that had purchased a quadricycle with seats for 12 pedalers in addition to the operator.
The town’s police chief gave the business permission to use the quadricycle, but the owners struggled to get a permit for it because it didn’t fit the state’s definition of a vehicle or bicycle.
Rep. Samuel Azzinaro, who represents the district where the aforementioned business is located, said the quadricycles would be a “welcome addition” to the state’s tourism hotspots.
“We are always looking for ways to boost Rhode Island’s appeal as a destination, so we should be making sure we don’t stand in the way of entrepreneurs offering amenities like these,” Azzinaro said. “This is the kind of experience that can add to charm and convenience to a place like Westerly, as well as our other tourism destinations around the state.”
Handy’s legislation defines quadricycles with up to 16 passengers as legal vehicles for use on Rhode Island roads, but only in communities that adopt an ordinance to allow and regulate their use.
It also states that municipalities don’t need to register their quadricycles with the Rhode Island Division of Motor Vehicles (DMV).
The bill would also allow quadricycles to have a motor to assist with movement, provided the motor doesn’t allow the vehicle to exceed speeds of 20 miles per hour. Quadricycles in this category would only be allowed on roads where the speed limit doesn’t exceed 30 miles per hour, Handy added.
Those operating the quadricycles would be required to have a chauffeurs’ license or a commercial driver’s license with a passenger endorsement for 16-person models, according to Handy.
The legislation now heads to the R.I. Senate for consideration.