House of Lords Debate on Pedicabs
Wednesday 22 November: The House of Lords convened for the second reading of the Pedicabs Bill, marking its debut in parliamentary debate. The Bill successfully passed this stage and is poised for Committee scrutiny before proceeding to the House of Commons.
Although unanimous support prevailed among peers, discussions highlighted broader concerns regarding e-scooters, e-bikes, and unregulated noise. A notable aspect was the Minister’s confirmation that Transport for London (TfL) would conduct consultations post-Bill passage. These regulations will then be placed into law by Parliament.
Key highlights from the debate include:
• Lord Davies of Gower (Conservative, Minister): Highlighted the anomaly of unregulated pedicabs in London and stressed the necessity for their regulation. He emphasised the positive role pedicabs play in the city’s night-time economy. The Bill aims to grant TfL powers to address issues related to eligibility, safety, operational standards, and more, subject to consultation and parliamentary approval.
• Lord Berkeley (Labour): Welcomed the Bill, noting its importance for cyclist safety. Stressed the need for a clear definition of pedicabs while raising questions about the potential inclusion of e-scooters and bikes in legislation. Advocated for balance among the rights of drivers, cyclists, and pedestrians.
• Baroness Stowell of Beeston (Conservative): Supported the Bill and recognised reputable pedicab firms, expressing concerns about criminal activity and lack of music regulations. Viewed the Bill as rectifying existing wrongs.
• Lord Blencartha (Conservative): Strongly criticised pedicabs for tarnishing London’s image and proposed extending the Bill’s scope to cover e-bikes and e-scooters.
• Lord Hogan-Howe (Crossbench): Supported the Bill for its potential to enhance London’s appeal but raised concerns about lost property and the need for better identification of nuisance pedicabs.
• Baroness Anelay of St Johns (Conservative): Voiced support for the Bill but cautioned against potential over-regulation. Raised concerns about the broad definition of pedicabs that might inadvertently include unintended vehicles.
• Viscount Goschen (Conservative): Described pedicabs as a tourist trap and emphasised the need for data, technological solutions, and addressing noise issues.
• Lord Hunt of Kings Heath (Labour): Acknowledged both the popularity of pedicabs with tourists and concerns raised by the Heart of London Business Alliance. Sought reassurance on the use of cycle lanes.
• Lord Moylan (Conservative): He said that he would “like to see pedicabs crushed. Favoured TfL’s oversight in regulation but questioned the need for regulations to become statute.
• Lord Liddle (Labour): Supported the Bill for closing a legal loophole and highlighted the damage to London’s reputation due to the lack of regulation, criticising the government’s priorities.
• Lord Davies of Gower (Conservative Minister): Affirmed TfL’s role in determining appropriate regulations, including noise considerations, and their ability to request driver checks. Stressed the aim to regulate, not eliminate pedicabs.
The upcoming Committee Stage is scheduled for 11 December. It will likely entail the formation of a Bill Committee to consider any possible amendments.
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