What’s making news in Minneapolis, reported by the Star Tribune’s team of city reporters. Send news tips to baird.helgeson@startribune.com.

Minneapolis considers new rules for 'pedal pubs'

Posted by: Eric Roper Updated: January 11, 2013 - 3:44 PM

The roving bars on wheels known as "pedal pubs," an increasingly common sight on Minneapolis streets, are about to get some City Hall scrutiny.

The city is preparing to hold hearings on a set of new regulations that would formally recognize the makeshift tables on wheels, powered by pedaling beer drinkers, in the city's books. They would require pedal pubs -- called "pedal cars" in the proposed ordinance -- to obtain licenses and operate within certain hours, among other limitations.

Pedal pubs became legal in Minnesota four years ago, when Rep. Steve Simon pushed a law exempting a "vehicle that is operated for commercial purposes in a manner similar to a bicycle...with five or more passengers who provide pedal power to the drive train" from the state's prohibition on open alcohol containers in vehicles.

The move to change city regulations, which will get a public hearing on Jan. 28, would require the tours to stop by 10 p.m., impose license fees -- $59 per driver and $98 per vehicle -- outlaw any hard liquor and mandate that owners carry $2 million in insurance.

Perhaps most importantly, the pub drivers must keep the party under control.

"It is the responsibility of the commercial pedal car driver to actively and affirmatively manage the behavior of the passengers of the commercial pedal car so that that their behavior remains law-abiding during the excursion, both while the pedal car is in motion and at a stop," the proposed ordinance reads.

And lest there be any confusion about how loud is too loud, the proposal has some precise measurements:

"No music or amplified sound shall be played, nor yelling or conversation be conducted, in such a manner that the sound of which carries to points of habitation or adjacent properties and is audible above the level of conversational speech at a distance of fifty (50) feet or more from the point of origin of the sound."

Minneapolis isn't the first to start regulating pedal pubs. St. Paul passed its own regulations in 2012.

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