The New Pub Crawl: Pedal Pubs and What You Need To Know

Looking for a fun group activity to do this summer? You might want to think twice before you sign up for a “pedal pub”. Pedal pubs are gaining popularity in major cities as attractions for tourists, bachelor/bachelorette parties, and team building activities. Participants sit at an open-air bar with wheels, and pedal around busy city streets. Depending on where you are, participants may either drink on board or simply pedal from pub to pub. No matter the “style” of ride you take, the basics are the same: large groups, alcohol, biking, city streets, and traffic.

Pedal pubs are newer to North America, but have been popular in Europe for a number of years. Already there are reports of significant injuries arising from pedal pubs in North America.

It is important to keep in mind the serious risks that might come from going on a pedal pub and the impact that these risks might have on you afterwards. City streets are lined with pot-holes, curbs, construction sites, streetcars, and vehicles. Add a group of intoxicated pedestrians running around a bar on wheels, and you have a recipe for disaster.

Participants of pedal pubs are at the mercy of fellow riders, other drivers, and the guide they have hired to take them on the route. Should the pedal pub be struck by another vehicle on the road or participants be jolted by going over a large pothole, there could be serious injuries. Likewise, getting on and off the pedal pub poses risks of its own, particularly when participants go into the street. When crossing as a pedestrian, even with a pedal pub group, make sure that all nearby motorists can see you and be predictable in your movements.  Pedal pubs also pose a risk for nearby pedestrians and drivers who might be met with an unexpected pedal pub in its path or rowdy participants.

In these cases there may be multiple parties at fault, complicating who is responsible for any injuries that occur. Some liable parties might include the pedal pub company, the individual driver of the pedal pub, the participants, and other involved drivers.

There may also be some complicating factors. For example, participants will likely sign a waiver before beginning their ride. A waiver can release a pedal pub company from the responsibility it bears for injuries caused during the ride.  While waivers are not always enforceable, they are often difficult to get around. Another possible complication is when participants have been drinking and their behavior contributes to the injuries. This is called contributory negligence, and means that the individual shares responsibility for the accident.

While pedal pubs sound like an exciting way to spend a weekend afternoon in the summer, if you do participate in one or see one coming your way down the street, take every precaution possible to keep yourself safe.

This article was written by Oatley Vigmond Student-at-Law Holly Schmid.

About the Authors

Holly is has always been passionate about assisting others and meeting them with care and understanding. For Holly, a career in personal injury law was a natural extension of her goal to help people as they navigate complex and difficult life changes.

To learn more about Holly, please click here.