Backseat Driver Ken Ott Assaulted

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


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."