The rickshaw dimensions are different as there are many types now available. Some of the rickshaws measure 3250 x 1280 x 1350 mm (L x W x H). Other rickshaws measure 2,420 x 1,085 x 1,850 mm. The curb weight varies too. The most common engine types are the 150cc, 175cc, 200cc and 250cc.
The traditional rickshaws are human powered transport. There is a runner drawing a cart (usually with two wheels). The cart can hold one or two people. The traditional rickshaw was used in many Asian countries for transporting royalty and the social elite.
If the rickshaw dimensions are bigger, more people should be able to sit on the cart. Although the rickshaw is still used in some countries, it is becoming rare as concern for the workers is becoming an issue. Another reason is the emergence of auto rickshaws.
The auto rickshaw and its variants have three wheels. In various Asian countries, particularly India, they are the equivalent of the taxicab. Their average speed is 30 to 40 km/h but this will also depend on the engine being used. Aside from being a mode of transportation, the rickshaw is a popular tourist attraction.
The different rickshaw dimensions and styles have made it a hit with tourists in the Asakusa part of Tokyo. The rickshaw is also popular in Hong Kong Island, Hong Kong and in London’s Chinatown. There are also rickshaws in Toronto, Canada and Ho Chi Minh in Vietnam. They are also prevalent in Durban, South Africa.
Based on available evidence, the rickshaw first appeared in Japan in 1868 or 1869. They became very popular because compared with horses, human labor was less expensive. The inventor is a matter of debate. Some researchers believe that Jonathan Scobie (sometimes spelled as Jonathan Goble) invented it in 1869.
According to the story, Scobie was an American missionary in Japan who created the rickshaw so his crippled wife could move around. Other researchers think the inventor was an American blacksmith named Albert Tolman who invented it in 1848.
There are also some researchers who believe that the rickshaw was invented in the 1700s in France. There are also those who believe that it was invented by a Japanese restaurateur named Izumi Yosuke. Other possible inventors being mentioned are Takayama Kosuke and Suzuki Tokujiro.
Whatever its origins may be, the rickshaw has evolved. Today, different auto rickshaw dimensions and models are being used in many countries around the world.