DUBLIN CITY COUNCIL is currently looking at how it could bring about legislation to regulate the operation of rickshaws in in the city.
This issue was raised recently by TD Derek Keating who pointed out that the vehicles, which have been appearing in cities across the country in recent years, are operated by unqualified persons and are “being driven often overloaded, with no regard for road traffic legislation”. They also operate in pedestrian only areas and on footpaths.
Rickshaws are not specifically defined in law and there is no legislation to regulate the carriage of passengers in these kinds of vehicles as they are a fairly new phenomenon in Ireland. Because of this, there is no requirement to register a rickshaw and no one has any real idea how many there are in operation.
Galway city councillors have already voted to ban rickshaws from all pedestrianised streets. At the time, Fianna Fáil councillor Michael Crowe, who had made the proposal, said they were too dangerous and he had received complaints from local business people. He also said he believed the city’s medieval streets were too narrow for the wide bikes.
Though there is no specific regulation of rickshaws in Irish law, their drivers are still bound by road traffic legislation and they must obey the rules of the road. This means they are technically banned from pedestrian-only streets.
Minister for Transport Paschal Donohoe has expressed his intention to extend the fixed charge notice system to cover road offences by cyclists and this would take in rickshaws.
In response to a recent parliamentary question, Donohoe said the council had written to him regarding its wish to regulate the vehicles. The council’s legal advisors suggested that its own proposed regime would go beyond the scope of local authority powers and so it has sought that provision be made through primary legislation to extend this scope.
The council has been working on a regulatory impact assessment on a proposal seeking permission to initiate this legislation.