Trike business works with city on safety plan in the waterfront

Popular rentals require helmets

Trike rentals come with a safety message (John Palminteri/KEYT photo)

SANTA BARBARA,Calif. - A Santa Barbara trike rental and sales business has worked with the city on stronger safety for their customers and others in the area.

The plan was developed in part because of the popularity of the trike rentals, alongside other rentals such as buggy's, surrey's and  beach cruisers.

At any given time you can see one or more zipping by.

Trike customers are given a safety check before they are given the green light to take off on their drive around the area.   

At first, earlier this year, the customers could get on and ride. No helmet was needed. It was just like the rules on the books for adult bike riders.  However, a larger safety plan was discussed and established with the city.

California Trike Company co-owner Mike Davenport now has a room full of Department of Transportation (DOT) helmets the riders must wear.  The trikes must also stay in the bike lanes and off the beach front bike path. The plan was worked out with the City Attorney's office and the Santa Barbara Police Department.

The electric trikes have a hand controlled throttle and a top speed of 20 miles an hour.

The customers are generally "families" and adult tourists according to Davenport. He says the average rider does not rent a trike by the hour and then park at a beer or wine tasting room nearby and drink.

Everyone is also shown a map of the waterfront area so they can choose a path that includes Butterfly Beach in Montecito, the bird refuge, Shoreline Park and Hendry's Beach.    The most immediate trip id the funk zone right where the business is located.

California Trikes are bought as parts from China.  The all-electric ride is assembled here and ready for the road with up to three people.

The trikes are also for sale.

Police say they have worked with the company to make sure the rules of the road are followed.  Some of the early stops by patrol officers came with warnings.

Now anyone who is riding in the wrong location, or without a helmet could receive a ticket.   If they are in control of the trike while intoxicated, the consequences will be more severe.

Davenport says he has had to stop riders who are not cooperating.    At the same time, he says the company has an accident free record.  Police say they stopped one trike where the riders were not wearing helmets and found out they chose to take them off once their rental use began.

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