Tallinn Municipal Police (Mupo) have started confiscating bicycle rickshaws from drivers who have repeatedly violated the regulations, stating that fines have not been a sufficient deterrent. The first two vehicles were confiscated on Wednesday.
The bicycle rickshaws, which can carry at least two paying passengers under an enclosed canopy and are part-motorized, are a familiar sight in and around Tallinn's Old Town during the summer months, catering largely to the tourist market.
New regulations were brought in by the city government last summer, over concerns such as pricing, safety and the sheer number of rickshaws in operation.
After checks on Wednesday, in cooperation with the Police and Border Guard Board (PPA), two rickshaws were impounded, as their drivers lacked the correct permits to use them.
The checks covered the Old Town and the port area, where the bulk of the rickshaws operate, and inspected permits and the vehicles' compliance with the regulations.
"In order to prevent further offenses from being committed, we confiscated the rickshaws. One of the drivers was already familiar to us and is a repeat offender, but this does not seem to have had any effect," said Aivar Toompere, Mupo chief.
"We will continue to do the same in the future, since fines alone have not had the desired effect," he continued.
Mupo is an entirely separate organisation from the PPA, and operates within Tallinn city limits and under the auspices of the city government.
Mupo personnel are perhaps most well known for conducting on-the-spot checks of public transport passengers' rights to travel.
Their earlier green uniforms have been updated to a navy blue color scheme, and both these and their vehicles more closely resemble those of the PPA.
Moves earlier in the year to extend Mupo's existing powers, and those of other municipalities' municipal police forces where they exist to include the use of physical force, met with opposition from the Isamaa party.
The expanded powers for Mupo were aimed mainly at cracking down on a spate of youth crime which had arisen in a central Tallinn park.
Editor: Andrew Whyte