Dublin City rickshaw operators face fines and seizures for breaking cycle laws
Gardai have the power to fine rickshaw drivers in the city under newly-introduced cycling laws.
The pedal passenger bikes are largely unregulated with the authorities still deciding how best to deal with them. However, under laws introduced for regular cyclists those who operate the rickshaws can also be fined.
On September 1, some 36 cycling breaches were brought under new rules by Transport Minister Paschal Donohoe, making them subject to on-the-spot penalty notices.
Cyclists can now be handed €40 fines for breaking rules, including running red lights or failing to stop for a school warden.
Rickshaw drivers are also eligible to be handed fines for these rules.
Other rules that are likely to apply to the vehicles relate to operating in pedestrian areas and cycling without reasonable consideration.
The issue has been a huge concern for many years. In 2013 Dublin City Council introduced bye-laws to regulate rickshaws, including seizure powers.
However, it was then discovered that government legislation would be required instead.
Meanwhile, the National Transport Authority (NTA) has sought legal advice on the topic and both the NTA and the council are working on a legal framework to regulate the bikes.
It is hoped that a progress report on the incoming rules will be presented to the Transport Strategic Policy Committee of Dublin City Council soon.
Independent councillor Christy Burke and Fianna Fail councillor Deirdre Heaney are the latest public representatives to raise the issue with city management.
The two seasoned councillors are concerned about what would happen if a rickshaw was involved in an accident.
A recent joint initiative between Revenue officials and gardai inspected 100 rickshaws and horse-drawn carriages in the city centre, in the district attached to Pearse Street Garda Station on the southside.
Drivers' identities were checked, along with the road-worthiness of their vehicles. General public safety issues were also considered, according to gardai.
Meanwhile, reports that rickshaw drivers are being used by crime bosses to ferry drugs around the capital have also emerged.
Fears that the rickshaw drivers were being exploited in this way prompted Labour TD Derek Keating to call for urgent legislation.