Prague wants to limit beer bikes

The pedal-powered moving bars have caught City Hall's attention

The city seeks to regulate “beer bikes,” the pedal-powered moving bars that have recently been in the city center. Residents have been complaining to City Hall that the vehicles block traffic and cause noise.

The city is looking at what existing laws can be used, as this would be an easier solution than passing new laws to address the situation.

The beer bikes also called party bikes or pedal pubs, are the size of a van and sit up to 16 people around a small counter with a beer tap. All of the riders pedal to propel the bike, and they can drink at the same time.

This new battle follows after the city's successful efforts to rid the center of Segways, and current efforts by Prague 1 to limit bike tours and scooter tours in the city center.

The beer bike is advertised as “an unconventional cycle trip to the historical center of Prague” for groups of people with an experienced guide who taps beer in the course of their journey. The ride is for private events and for regular tours.

“The operation of so-called beer bikes is one of a series of new trends that European cities must face, not just Prague. We can look at the example of Amsterdam, where the operation of these bikes was forbidden in November last year. And I would like to draw attention to the fact that this city and its inhabitants are widely known for their great degree of tolerance,”Prague City Councilor Jan Wolf (KDU-ČSL) said on the City Hall website.

The beer bike is classified under the law as a non-motorized vehicle, along with tricycles and tandem bicycles propelled by human power and intended for road traffic. According to the Ministry of Transport, the vehicle meets the minimum technical requirements for a braking system and low visibility lighting.

The vehicle may also be fitted with an auxiliary motor up to a certain limit in size and speed. The basic rules of the road include, among other things, that no one endangers life, health or property.

“Recently, both citizens and visitors of Prague have increasingly been alerting me to the interruption of public order, to the limitation of the fluidity and safety of both traffic and of passers-by and, last but not least, to the safety of the passengers of these so-called beer bikes. I am determined to address this situation,” Wolf said.

“On the other hand, the solution is not so simple. There are legal barriers to just banning something. We need to deal with them, but first of all, we need to know what we have, how we want to address specific issues and the positive and negative consequences,” he added.

“I already have an analysis and opinion on a proposal for a possible solution from the relevant City Hall departments. I will personally initiate negotiations on the solution of this issue with the relevant state institutions and, of course, the city sections that are of immediate concern. At the moment, one of the possible solutions seems to me to ban this mode of operation in places where there is a ban on alcohol consumption in public areas. This solution would be accompanied by a simple enforcement by the Municipal Police,” Wolf said.

Other laws concerning public order and safety may also be used to address the situation.

City Hall learned from its efforts to regulate Segways that banning something from the streets is not a simple task. The national law concerning motor vehicles had to be changed, and signs had to be put up across the city specifying the ban, which took effect in 2016.

The Prague 1 district has been attempting to limit bikes including scooters and bike tours in parts of the city center during business hours, but the implementation has been delayed due to a lawsuit by biking advocates.

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