Monday, January 25, 2010

Backseat Driver Ken Ott Assaulted

Subject of this week's Culture Spy attacked by an unruly customer.

By Rachel Swan
Mon, Jan 25, 2010 at 5:38 PM

Local pedicab driver Ken Ott was rushed to Highland's trauma center early Sunday morning, after a brush with a drunk customer on Auto Row. Ott said the incident happened some time between midnight and 12:20 a.m., on the corner of Broadway and Webster Streets. He blacked out during the attack and awoke with a front tooth bashed in, along with cuts, abrasions, bruises, scabs, and swollen lips. "This wasn't the only incident that night," Ott wrote in an e mail the following day. "I talk to club/bar staff and violent eruptions seem to keep happening. Fights. Theft. More fights."

Ott, whose pedicab business is the subject of this week's Culture Spy, has styled himself as a city booster of sorts, with a mission to turn Oakland into a more dense, compact downtown. For the past several months he has driven a three-seater bicycle around downtown Oakland, offering free rides to clubgoers. Ott says he plans to continue his operation, albeit at a reduced level. "I'll see how I can change the service to preclude these types events," he wrote. "I wouldn't want to stop doing this work."

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