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Party City: Metro Council To Consider Regulations For Pedal Pubs

thirsty pedaler
Todd Horrell

Louisvillians may soon get to drink alcohol aboard party bikes.

The Louisville Metro Council this week will begin considering legislation to permit alcohol consumption on commercial quadricycles.

Part buggy, part bicycle, the four-wheeled contraptions are popular among bar-hoppers with a penchant for boozing through hip downtown areas of cities like Nashville, Cincinnati and Milwaukee.

Quadricycles operate in Louisville, too, but carousing is prohibited. The bikes serve only as transit. Council president David Yates is looking to change that.

Yates is sponsoring a pair of ordinances that, if approved, would designate certain areas of the city in which passengers on specially licensed quadricycles could carry and consume alcoholic beverages.

Yates, a Democrat from District 25, was not available for comment on Monday. His legislation will be considered by the council's Labor and Economic Development committee during its regularly scheduled meeting Tuesday.

The ordinances follow a 2016 change in state law that sanctioned such activities on the party bikes.

State lawallows passengers to bring unopened packages of alcoholic beverages onto a permitted quadricycle and consume the drinks via "nondescriptive plastic cups." The law prohibits glass containers and does not allow passengers to bring drinks from bars or restaurants onto the party bike.

Under the proposed local ordinances, any owner of a commercial quadricycle must first obtain a permit before seeking a required license to allow alcoholic beverages on board the party bike. Those quadricycles could then operate in designated areas where the booze is allowed onboard.

To obtain a permit, quadricycle owners must show proof of liability insurance of at least $2 million, ensure proper inspections are completed and submit a proposed route of travel.

Travel routes may be subject to city approval under the ordinance.

Thirsty Pedaling

In Louisville, The Thirsty Pedaler crawls up and down East Market Street, lingering outside the bars and restaurants that line the blossoming corridor.

The 16-person quadricycle pulses with music and glows with neon lights when night falls.

Jennifer Benningfield and her husband, Scott, own The Thirsty Pedaler. In an emailed statement, they said new regulations are needed for the growing industry.

"We are working to make sure we do it in the smartest possible way with the help of the local government," they said.

And, they stressed, The Thirsty Pedaler will "not be selling any alcohol" and passengers will "not be allowed to take alcohol from bars or from the bike to the bars."

The Benningfields expanded their operation to Lexington in 2015. Then, they told The Lexington Herald-Leader the quadricycle experience is "an integral part" of getting people to visit downtown areas.

Rebecca Matheny, head of the Louisville Downtown Partnership, which advocates for economic growth in the city's central business district, did not return a request for comment.

A spokesman for the council's minority Republican caucus also did not return a request for comment.

Jacob Ryan joined LPM in 2014. Ryan is originally from Eddyville, Kentucky. Email Jacob at jryan@lpm.org.