London cops seize modified rickshaws

Rickshaws fitted with motors to increase speed contravene rules, since they become classified as ‘motor vehicles’, which requires them to be taxed, insured and registered.
Cycle-rickshaws are increasingly visible in central London.(HT Photo)
Cycle-rickshaws are increasingly visible in central London.(HT Photo)
Updated on Dec 27, 2019 11:35 PM IST
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Hindustan Times, London | By Prasun Sonwalkar

Cycle-rickshaws provide a novel and cheap way for short journeys around central London areas such as Oxford Street and Westminster, but some attached with motors have attracted the attention of Scotland Yard, which seized 65 of those in a recent crackdown.

Rickshaws fitted with motors to increase speed contravene rules, since they become classified as ‘motor vehicles’, which requires them to be taxed, insured and registered. Drivers of modified rickshaws also require a driving license.

Geoff Tatman of Scotland Yard said: “This operation was aimed at targeting pedicabs fitted with electric motors. The alteration result in their overall power outage and speed increasing, and subsequently defines them as motor vehicles with the requirement for appropriate documentation”.

“We are determined to keep the streets of central London safe for all, and this successful operation demonstrates that those who choose to flout the law will be dealt with robustly,” Tatman added.

Cycle-rickshaws are increasingly visible in central London, while several towns across the United Kingdom have allowed auto-rickshaws (mostly imported from India) to ply on their streets after ensuring they meet safety and other regulations.

Towns allowing such auto-rickshaws include Cardiff, Southampton, Brighton and Hove, Worcestershire and Liverpool. Also known locally as ‘tuk-tuk’, they mainly operate as private hire and run on CNG or battery.

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