Friday, October 26

About Time

Well it looks as if at long last that new safety rules are to be brought in to govern the hundreds of pedicabs touting for hire in London. After concerns were voiced that the rapid growth of the bicycle rickshaws - there are now about 600 - is putting people at risk. Even though they carry passengers, the pedicabs are classed as and have the same legal status as bicycles. Believe it or not drivers do not have to be licensed, or even have insurance. The rules are being proposed as part of the London Local Authorities and Transport for London Bill, which will be presented in Parliament on 27 November. It would enable councils to serve fixed penalty notices for parking on yellow lines, jumping red lights or driving in bus lanes. The move comes after a string of accidents involving pedicabs. In one, a passenger was thrown out and knocked unconscious. In another, a pedicab overturned after a collision with a bus. It also follows two weekends of action last month by police and Westminster council, which led to seven arrests and 43 warnings.
A Westminster councillor said: "We have been lobbying the Government for some time for further powers to help us tackle rogue pedicab operators, but we do need more weapons... to deal with them before somebody is killed." TfL's Public Carriage Office said a planned licensing scheme would become mandatory if the High Court declared pedicabs a type of hackney carriage. A spokesman for London Pedicabs, said: "We welcome the new rules but we do need to have allocated parking space and ranks." What a cheek eh! they don't want to pay for licenses and have police checks like cab drivers but they want all the benefits. Some pedicab riders are against the plans. One said: "It just feels like they are trying to choke us out of business. Clubbers and tourists love us."

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