Reprieve for rickshaws after bikers retrained

Fears have been raised over the safety of pedicabs. Picture: PA
Fears have been raised over the safety of pedicabs. Picture: PA
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RICKSHAWS have narrowly avoided the axe despite a bid to clear the “hazardous” vehicles from city streets.

Pedal-powered cabs across the Capital faced a ban after reports claimed they frequently created danger for pedestrians and road users.

Environmental wardens said there had been several instances where riders were “not compliant with the Highway Code” and drove outside approved areas.

But operators were yesterday granted a reprieve when ­members of the city’s licensing sub-committee opted to grant new permits following pledges that riders had been put through emergency training.

Nino Allenza, managing director of Edinburgh Pedicabs, one of the firms ­applying for a licence, told councillors: “All of our riders now have been retrained and have gone through their obligations under the Highway Code.

“We have also gone through areas of concern such as the one-way system in the Grassmarket and Rose Street, and riding on the pavement.

“We have put together a detailed code of conduct and increased the level of supervision where our operations director is out along with two supervisors, and they liaise with wardens to see if there have been issues.”

Mr Allenza indicated he was aware of complaints that riders had been straying beyond designated business zones and stressed every effort would be made to ensure they remained within approved areas of the city. He added: “We have ­reissued the trading map to our riders and gone through the boundaries [of our trading zone]. The only time they go outside is when they travel to and from the company’s ­business hub.

“We work very diligently to make sure that we comply with what is expected of us. I can assure the convener and the committee this is not a temporary fix. We will make sure that this does not happen again.”

In response, ­Councillor Gavin Barrie, licensing leader, said he was minded to grant permits but said pedicabs would be monitored closely by the council. He added: It has frustrated me no end coming up from the North Bridge to the High Street to see pedicabs on the pavement on that corner – it’s just not acceptable.”

Safety fears about the ­vehicles were raised shortly after they were introduced to the Capital in 2001, when a student from Northern Ireland was badly hurt when her scarf became tangled in a wheel.

And in 2010, East Lothian soldier Christopher Kane was killed after falling out of a ­pedicab and hitting his head.

His death led to calls to step up regulation and bring it in line with other licensed ­industries such as taxis.