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Clearwater could approve pedal pubs, but alcohol may not be allowed

Posted at 2:55 PM, Dec 19, 2019
and last updated 2019-12-19 18:17:47-05

CLEARWATER, Fla. — A pedal pub without a pub? Thursday night, leaders in Clearwater are expected to vote on a plan to allow Mega Cycles or pedal pubs both in the downtown area and on Clearwater Beach with one major exception: The group bike will not be allowed to have beer or wine on board.

“I’m not sure it will work out without alcohol,” Clay Irwin wrote to city council members in an email Thursday morning.

Irwin is a Clearwater business owner who wants to bring the Pedal Pub concept, already popular in downtown St. Petersburg, to downtown Clearwater and Clearwater Beach.

The ordinance Clearwater leaders are set to vote on Thursday night would allow the beer bikes, but would ban alcohol “due to open container laws, safety concerns and the need to change multiple ordinances,” according to a memo that’s part of the city council agenda.

“If they won’t allow alcohol, I’m not sure I’ll be able to move forward,” Irwin explained to city leaders in an email.

Irwin doesn’t believe alcohol on the pedal pubs is a problem because hard liquor would not be allowed, the bikes would have an employee who steers the bike and he says the 90 minute tours are only long enough for someone to consume 1-2 beers.

“Our pilots will be well trained to watch for intoxication and well trained on how to handle the situation,” Irwin writes to city leaders. “Each individual will have to supply their own beverage and it will be kept in the middle of the bike and only the pilot can fill up their cups at the stop.”

Clearwater leaders began considering the idea over the summer months, and brought together Clearwater’s police chief, planning and development leaders, the assistant city attorney and leaders from the city’s traffic and engineering team to weigh in.

Clearwater leaders want to look at allowing the pedal pubs for a 6-month trail period.

Another rule would restrict the pedal pubs from operating on the busy Clearwater Beach roundabout, only allowing the bikes to operate North and South of Pier 60.

City leaders also worry about the impact pedal pubs could have on clogging up traffic on busy Clearwater Beach streets.

Irwin says a full pedal pub can travel around 15 miles per hour. The mega cycles would be restricted to streets with a speed limit of 35 miles per hour or less.

Clearwater leaders also worry about how the pedal pubs might impact Clearwater Beach’s reputation as a family-friendly destination. Irwin says “Any beer and wine will be in a visible container and will not be allowed off of the bike. The average rider does not drink much because it’s not easy to pedal and drink beer or wine,” he explained.

To read the ordinance Clearwater leaders are considering at Thursday’s 6PM city council meeting, you can find the documents here.