Nickie Aiken the MP for Cities of London and Westminster is to introduce a Bill to Parliament on 21 April for the regulation of pedicabs to carry paying passengers.

Passenger and cargo bicycle.
The pedal cyclist always rings twice. An electrically-assisted passenger and cargo bicycle in Tottenham Street, Fitzrovia operated by Pedal Me. Photo: Linus Rees.

The Pedicabs (London) Bill would allow Transport for London to regulate the use of pedicabs in public places in Greater London for hire or reward, and is based on a previous Bill which Paul Scully MP attempted to take through parliament but was unsuccessful.

Almost everything in Nickie Aiken’s announcement of the Bill is negative.

“To be clear, the Bill aims to regulate the provision of Pedicabs in London through TfL, not to ban them outright,” she writes in an email to residents.

Aiken directs people to her website where she explains why the Bill is needed and asks people to sign up to support her and share the page with friends and neighbours.

“Pedicabs have long been a bone of contention for people living in near Central London’s tourist hotspots,” she writes. “Although great fun for many of the people that use them, a large number of local people have complained to me and to local Councillors about the problems pedicabs cause.”

Aiken then goes on to list a number of nuisances that pedicab operators cause, something many residents groups in central London have been concerned about for sometime and they will welcome the announcement. But apart from being “great fun” to ride she has nothing else positive to say.

At least her Bill does not intend to ban them outright, much to the relief of the many people running innovative and successful businesses like Pedal Me who have 45 staff and carry fare-paying passengers and cargo within a five mile radius of central London, and Veluba who are currently crowdfunding to launch their fleet of 30 pedicabs.

Last month the Government quietly released a report stating its vision for a net zero transport system. While Grant Shapps, secretary of state for transport, stated in its introduction that “public transport and active travel will be the natural first choice for our daily activities” the rest of the report made only modest proposals for cycling, yet predicted a 35 percent rise in distance travelled by private car by 2050, boosted by a £27bn road building spend

In the report there were only four sentences about electrically-assisted cycles for cargo and nothing about carrying passengers. A very large part of the report was dedicated to electric cars.

It would appear that Aiken and her colleagues in government see pedicabs as part of the problem rather than the solution for city travel.

Pedal Me, however, were upbeat about Aiken’s announcement and said on Twitter: “We’re sure @NickieAiken_MP would support what we’re doing with highly trained staff with externally accredited assessments, DBS checks, registration of bikes and checks and balances in place. Nicky — when could we speak, to ensure you’re up to speed on best practice?”

Nickie Aiken MP: Do you support greater regulation of pedicabs in Central London?

House of Commons business 21 April 2020.

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