Pedicabs law change call by London mayor Boris Johnson

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More than 300 pedicab drivers have been arrested in the West End in the last year

London Mayor Boris Johnson has called for Transport for London (TfL) to be given the power to remove pedicabs from the streets of the capital.

Unlike with other forms of transport, "anyone can just hop aboard and ply for hire", Mr Johnson said.

He said it had become clear that the voluntary registration scheme which had been under consideration would not have provided a "robust solution".

But one pedicab operator described the call a "witch-hunt".

Although there are a relatively small number of pedicabs operating in a small part of central London, they have a disproportionate effect on traffic congestion and congregate in pedestrian areas, TfL claims.

'Not one death'

In the past 12 months there have been 365 arrests of pedicab drivers for offences including dangerous riding and cycling on a footway, TfL said.

It wants pedicabs to come under the same legislation as taxis.

The proposals are in TfL's submission to the Law Commission's consultation on reforming taxi hire services.

TfL and Westminster City Council had previously sought to introduce a voluntary registration scheme.

Mr Johnson said: "Although there are a number of responsible pedicab companies, the fact is that these vehicles jam up the capital's roads and consistently fail to ensure the safety of their passengers.

"That's why we and a wide range of businesses, local authorities and West End institutions are calling for TfL to be given the powers to remove them from the streets."

But Friedl Schroeder who runs the BugBugs pedicab company said pedicabs needed licensing, not banning.

"This is just the annual witch-hunt," he said.

"There hasn't been one fatality with rickshaws, and in 2010 there were just eight minor incidents."

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