Strict new laws for London’s rickshaw drivers set to be introduced to help protect women

·2-min read
 (PA)
(PA)

New laws regulating central London’s rickshaws are set to be introduced to help protect women.

MPs will debate the ‘Safety of women and the regulation of pedicabs in London’ bill on Tuesday.

It calls for the pedal-powered vehicles, and their drivers, to be subject to similar rules that black cabs and private hire cars have to follow.

Rickshaws, which are a common sight in the West End, do not currently have any official checks on their safety, road worthiness or fares they charge.

Their drivers are also not subject to right to work or criminal record checks.

The Government has said it will support new regulations.

Cities of London and Westminster MP Nickie Aiken, who introduced the bill, said: “I’ve received too many complaints from local people and businesses about noise and anti-social behaviour, such as pavements being blocked and aggressive touting for business.

“But currently there is very little we can do to resolve these issues.

"My bill will help fix this by introducing some basic regulations which will bring pedicabs in line with taxis. It will make sure drivers and passengers, especially women, are kept safe."

Environment minister Lord Benyon has said the Government will be supporting the bill when it comes for its second reading in the Commons on Friday November 19.

“The Government is aware of the long-standing concerns that pedicabs contribute to safety and traffic related issues in central London,” he said.

“The current situation in London means that there are very few existing powers to control pedicab operations effectively.

“Pedicab operators, drivers and their vehicles are not licensed, there are no requirements for drivers to undergo a criminal record or right to work checks, there is no fair control and and there may very well be insurance issues.”

Plans to tackle irresponsible rickshaw drivers have been in discussion for almost a decade.

In 2015, then Mayor of London Boris Johnson announced he wanted to ban the vehicles from the city to help ease traffic congestion.

However City Hall does not have the power to outlaw the vehicles or enforce laws on them

Ms Aiken, the former leader of Westminster council, said she was not seeking to ban rickshaws with new government legislation.

"It’s not at all about banning pedicabs - in fact we need them here in the West End as they contribute to our amazing offer and experience, and they are a green transport option too,” she said.

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