Fifteen Injured in Pedal Pub Crash on Peachtree Street in Atlanta, GA
Atlanta, GA -- April 30, 2022, over a dozen people were injured and a driver was arrested when a "pedal pub" crashed on West Peachtree Street in Atlanta.
Authorities say the incident happened around 6:30 p.m. on Peachtree at 14th Street. Preliminary reports indicate the pedal pub, a large vehicle where up to 15 people operate bicycle pedals to move it (often while drinking), was turning from Peachtree onto 14th when it overturned.
The pedal pub's 15 occupants were injured in the crash and were taken to an area hospital. Among those victims two people suffered critical injuries and three were in serious condition. The other ten received minor injuries.
The vehicle's driver or "pilot," 28-year-old James Anthony Johnson, was arrested after the crash on a potential DUI charge.
No further information is currently available.
Commentary on Pedal Pub Accident on Peachtree St in Atlanta
Obviously this is a serious crash, and it features a fairly unique vehicle. It's important to consider what a crash like this might mean for the victims in its aftermath.
At its heart the pedal pub is a commercial passenger vehicle. People pay money to show up as a gang and scoot it around together, most often in downtown urban areas (local drivers aren't always big fans of getting stuck behind one). Think of it like a limousine or a party bus--including many of their typical legal exemptions about open containers.
The law in many states and cities allow passengers to bring their own alcohol onto those vehicles as long as the driver remains sober and in control of the vehicle. Indeed, the Atlanta company that runs the Pedal Pub says on their website that the experience is BYOB and that they stop at various local breweries during the tour, but there is no company-provided alcohol on board.
Unfortunately it sounds like the Atlanta operator decided to join in the fun, which is a direct violation of his role as the "pilot." Any reasonable commercial operator should know better, and when someone fails in that basic duty obviously people can get hurt. The pedal pub doesn't really hit high top speeds, but clearly they were booking it hard enough that it tipped over in a turn.
If the driver lost control of it--allegedly while intoxicated--and paying customers were hurt, that could mean the driver's employer is responsible for the damage his carelessness caused. The company may not agree or may point to the electronic waiver its customers must sign before the event begins, but I don't think a paper shield is going to get them very far if their paid employee drunkenly tipped the bike over on its route.
It sounds to me like the company should reach out to the people hurt by its reckless employee and see what it can do to make things right. Decades in this line of work make me think it may not make that move on its own without some legal intervention, though, so I hope even as they recover those victims are taking the important first steps to help them seek resolution.