Difference Between Tricycle and Cycle Rickshaw

A cycle is a human-powered vehicle that is used for different purposes like sports, recreation, travelling, exercise etc. People who are into cycling are called cyclists. Cycles are of different types like unicycle, bicycle, tricycle, trishaw, cycle-rickshaw, quadricycles etc. The concept of using cycles was introduced in the 19th century. It became so popular that its number has risen to 1 billion globally. In European countries, cycling is a popular sport, very efficient and effective.

Tricycle vs Cycle Rickshaw

The main difference between Tricycle and Cycle Rickshaw is that Tricycle is a vehicle consisting of three wheels and is used for personal purposes. On the other hand, a cycle-rickshaw is used for commercial purposes and has become a means of transport for carrying passengers. Tricycles are mostly used by children and senior adults as it gives them stability. Cycle Rickshaw is one of the types of auto-rickshaw. It comes in two variants, both motorised and paddle versions.

Tricycle and Cycle Rickshaw

Tricycle is sometimes referred to as trike. When it was invented, it was a human-powered vehicle. But it has now other variants also like it can be motorised or run on gasoline depending upon the tricycle. Tricycles are used because it gives stability to those who are not able to walk. It is favoured by children and senior adults in western countries. The design of an old tricycle is very poor, and there is a chance that the user can get tripped over. But modern tricycles are coming with new designs having a lower centre of gravity.

Cycle rickshaw is mainly used for transportation. Cycle rickshaw, unlike tricycle, consists of a hatchback that carries passengers on a hire basis. Cycle rickshaw consists of pedals that help to drive them faster. It is a human-powered vehicle. But mostly, it comes in a motorised version. It is just another variant of an auto-rickshaw. In different countries, it is referred to by different names such as bike taxi, cyclo, beca, becak, trisikad, sikad, tricycle taxi, velotaxi, pedicab, bike cab, trishaw, or hatchback bike, etc.

Comparison Table Between Tricycle and Cycle Rickshaw

Parameters of ComparisonTricycleCycle Rickshaw
PriceCheaperExpensive because of its design, comfortability, etc.
UseRecreation, shopping, and exercise.Ferry passengers to shorter distances.
TypesUpright, semi-recumbent, and recumbent.Auto-Rickshaw, Pedicab, Mototaxi, etc.
Passenger ConfigurationOne2-3 with the driver.

What is Tricycle?

Tricycles were invented by a man named Stephan Farffler in the 1680s. He wanted to make something that could provide mobility. Tricycle invented by him was powered by hand cranks. Then in 1789, french inventors invented tricycles that consisted of pedals. In 1818, Denis johnson patented the tricycle for its unique design and approach. In those times, the tricycle consisted of two small wheels on the right side one large wheel on the left side. One hand lever was given to drive it. James Starley started the production of Tricycles in England.

He made a lot of different models of tricycles consisting of multiple wheels. His tricycles were very popular at that time in England. Tricycles come in different wheel configurations. Delta Tricycle has one big front wheel and two rear wheels on both sides. Tadpole tricycle has two wheels on the front side and one on the backside. Types of Tricycles included Upright, Recumbent, Rickshaw etc.

Tricycles are called trikes. In today’s time, it is used for carrying large loads. Trikes consist of a carrier that can be either closed or open. A platform is there which is wired with the heavy basket. The frames of the tricycle are built in such a way that they can carry weight. Uses include food delivery, transportation, cargo handling, etc.

What is Cycle Rickshaw?

Cycle rickshaws were invented in the 1880s. The popularity of Cycle Rickshaw was seen in Singapore in 1929. Soon cycle rickshaw was so famous that pulled rickshaws were outnumbered. Till 1950, cycle rickshaws could be found in every South Asian country. In the 1980s, it was estimated that there were 4 million cycle rickshaws present in the world. After the cycle rickshaw, its motorised version came where the pedal was connected with the electric motor. A driver has to assist it.

Cycle rickshaws are not only popular in Asian countries but also in North American and European countries. Cycle Rickshaws are used for entertainment purposes between locals and tourists. For shorter distances, it is considered a very quick means of transportation. They are environmentally friendly. It also helps with traffic congestion. In western countries, cycle rickshaws are much more complicated consisting of multiple gears, brakes, electric motors etc.

Cycle Rickshaws are very popular in Bangladesh. There it is very popular as a public mode of transport. Bangladesh is often referred to as the Rickshaw capital of the world. In India, cycle-rickshaw were introduced in Kolkata. Then it was widely used in both rural and urban areas.

Main Differences Between Tricycle and Cycle Rickshaw

  1. Tricycles were invented in 1680. Cycle Rickshaw was invented in the 1880s.
  2. Tricycles are cheaper in comparison to Cycle Rickshaws. Cycle Rickshaws because of their design, comfortability, gear system, the electric motor becomes expensive.
  3. Tricycles are used for shopping, exercise, recreation, food delivery, baby taxis etc. Cycle Rickshaw is used to ferry passengers to shorter distances.
  4. Types of Tricycles are Recumbent, Rickshaw, upright and semi-recumbent. Types of Cycle Rickshaws are Mototaxi, Pedicab, auto-rickshaw etc.
  5. Tricycles can carry only one passenger at a time, i.e. driver. Cycle Rickshaws can carry two to three passengers with the driver.


Both Tricycle and Cycle Rickshaw are very important from the economic, social and political aspects. Both the vehicles consist of three wheels. Both are human-powered as well as come in the motorised form. Both can be used for transportation purposes. Tricycle and Cycle Rickshaw employs impoverished people, especially from rural areas.

If we talk about social aspects, then bothy gives mobility so anyone who is sick, old, is unable to walk can use them. Both are also used as artwork where they are intensely and intricately decorated. Many filmmakers art exhibitions showcase tricycles and cycle rickshaws in colourful and vibrant ways. Both are the lifelines for many people in developing countries.


  1. https://link.springer.com/chapter/10.1007/978-981-33-4684-0_45
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