I'm hoping to gather some informed opinions from this forum about using trailers to pull adult passengers with a bike as a vehicle-for-hire or taxi.
I'll try to briefly summarize. I own a small pedicab business in Austin, Texas, and would like to see the best safety standards in place for all pedicabs here. There are about a hundred pedicab trailers which have been allowed to operate until now under the current regulations without any additional braking system installed other than the brakes on the tow bike, which is typically a mountain bike with no required specifications other than a minimum wheel size of 26x1.75 and 32 spokes.
Austin is currently in the process of drafting new regulations for pedicabs, which introduce a new requirement for pedicab trailers to have a disk brake system on each rear wheel of the trailer. Would any of the work bike builders and designers in this forum have any opinions about the merits or flaws of this requirement, or ideas about an appropriate safety test for brakes on a bike and bike trailer expected to pull two or more adult passengers?
In particular, how do you respond to the argument that because there is no evidence that disk brakes prevent pedicab accidents, disk brakes should not be part of the safety equipment required by the city for human-powered taxis. Are disk brakes in fact the best solution for a braking system in a trailer pedicab setup? Is a braking system for the trailer necessary at all- shouldn't the brakes on the tow bike be enough to stop the vehicle?
Unfortunately, it is true that there is a lack of available information to the layperson about the risks and safety requirements for passenger trailers, which makes it difficult to present a justification for having any specific equipment. If I can trouble any of the experts out there to provide input based on their experience building work bikes, I'd greatly appreciate it.