New laws to regulate the operation of rickshaws are to be prepared by Government.

A public consultation on new regulations has been launched by the National Transport Authority.

The survey, which is available on the NTA's website, wants to hear the views of rickshaw drivers, passengers, operators who rent out the bikes and from anyone who wants regulation.

It is estimated that there are 500 rickshaws in Dublin operating late at night, catering mainly for people socialising in the city centre.

NTA Deputy CEO Hugh Creegan said the regulation of rickshaws "has been a matter of public interest for some time now".

Concerns about safety led Dublin City Council to issue a public warning last June stating that some rickshaw operators do not have public liability insurance.

It also pointed out that there is no regulation at present.

Galway City Council voted to ban rickshaws in 2013.

Some companies who rent out the bikes say they are fully insured and tax compliant.

Operator Josh Cantwell, whose company has 50 bikes, said he would welcome regulation.

Dublin city councillors tried to introduce a licencing system four years ago but were told they do not have the legal powers.

The Government will consider the form of legislation after the public consultation ends on 25 September.