Segway ban takes effect

Tours of people using Segways could still be seen downtown, despite new regulation

A ban on Segways in downtown Prague entered into effect Aug. 3, but so far several operators seem not to be aware as tour groups could still be seen using the vehicles on sidewalks a day later.

The ban applies to using two-wheeled self-balancing transporters on pavements, pedestrian areas, paths for pedestrians and cyclists, and roads. The prohibition also includes some parks and gardens. It covers Prague 1 and 7 and large parts of Prague 2, 3, 4 and 8. The fine for violating the regulation can be up to Kč 2,000. Street signs will soon be put up to mark areas where Segways and similar vehicles are banned. The signs feature a red circle around a side view of a man wearing a cap and riding a Segway-type vehicle. The ban was approved by the City Council in mid-July.

The city is also starting an awareness campaign targeted at operators as well as tourists, who make up the vast majority of Segway customers. Leaflets with bold banner stating “Segway? No Way!” in large blue letters, have a text in English, German, Russian and Italian asking people if they are aware of the ban and stating the amount of the fine. The back has a map showing where the ban is in effect.

“We wanted an easy way to point out to tourists where the use of the [Segway] carts is in conflict with the existing regulation. Obviously, the aim is not to collect as many fines as possible, but to ensure that tourists know about the ban,” Prague Mayor Adriana Krnáčová (ANO) stated. “Visitors to the capital will be alerted to the ban by the city police and by leaflets with a map.”

The mayor stressed that the ban would not inconvenience people. “I believe that your experience from your visit to Prague will not be any poorer without Segways. On the contrary, you'll be able to better enjoy the beauty and atmosphere of the Czech capital without the risk of potential conflict with the often unruly users of these rovers,” Krnáčová added.

The ban is not without opposition. An umbrella group of 25 Segway operators had called for “reasonable regulation” rather than an outright ban, and in the past said it would pursue legal action if a ban took effect. The group claims that some 300 people are employed in the Segway tourism sector.

Prague City Hall has long received complaints over Segways. A ban on using them in Kampa Park took effect in Aug. 15, 2014, and several private property owners downtown banned then on passageways that they owned.

Efforts were made since 2014 to find some compromise over Segway use, but instead the devices became more prolific and, due to competition, the Segway hustlers, who try to lure people into tours, became more aggressive.

Another delay had to do with how Segways were defined under traffic laws. They had to be reclassified before they could be regulated by the city.

You can see the leaflet with the map here

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