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Cycle rickshaws India


What is a cycle rickshaw?

A cycle rickshaw, also known as a pedicab, velotaxi or trishaw from tricycle rickshaw, is a human-powere vehicle for hire, usually with one or two seats for carrying passengers in addition to the driver.The vehicle is powered by the driver pedalling as one would a bicycle, though some rare configurations also have an electric motor assisting the driver. The vehicle is usually a tricycle. The driver pedals in front of the passenger seat, though some vehicles have the driver in the rear. Cycle rickshaws are widely used all over Asia, where they have largely replaced less-efficient hand-pulled rickshaw that required the driver to walk or run while pulling the vehicle.

Rickshaws are environmentally friendly

Cycle rickshaws are often hailed as environmentally-friendly, inexpensive modes of transport. Many cities in developing countries are highly polluted. The main reasons are the air and noise pollution caused by transport vehicles, especially petrol-powered two and three wheelers. For example, in India there are close to 18 million petrol- powered two wheelers and about 1.5 million petrol and diesel powered three wheelers. These vehicles are increasing in number at the rate of about 15% per year.

Existing Cycle Rickshaws

The existing cycle rickshaw has hardly changed since it was introduced in 1930s and 1940s in India (cycle rickshaws originally came from China). There are guesstimates that there are close to 1 million cycle rickshaws on the Indian roads carrying about 3-4 billion passengers each year. In some cities they are the major means of transport. They provide employment to about 700,000 rickshaw pullers, are very manoeuvrable and are completely non-polluting.

The rickshaws of the future

Cycle rickshaws are also used in some European and North American cities, where they are most often found near tourist attractions. There are several American and European manufacturers of cycle rickshaws, which often incorporate features not found in developing-world vehicles, such as hydraulic disc brakes and lightweight fibreglass bodies. Experimental rickshaws have been fitted with solar powered Interent terminals.




Project originally funded by EU and DfID with support from Tower Hamlets LEA