Prague 1 cycling ban to start at end of July

Road signs stating the times and locations are being put in place

Cyclists are still in the city center during the day, despite the Prague 1 district imposing restrictions at the end of May. They reason the ban is not being enforced is that traffic signs are not yet in place.

The signs should all be in place by the end of July. The ban cannot be enforced until all the signs are in place. Once they are, the ban can be enforced.

The same reason was behind the long delay for implementing the ban on Segways after that law was passed.

Prague 1 has decided to ban bicycles from the pedestrian zones around Old Town Square, Wenceslas Square and náměstí Republiky, among other locations, between 10 am and 5 pm. The ban will also extend to motorized scooters.

The reason given by Prague 1 is that the cyclists pose a safety hazard, though cycling advocates dispute this, claiming that accidents between cyclists and pedestrians are rare.

The number of cycling and scooter tours increased dramatically after the Segway ban took effect, causing complaints to the Town Hall.

Prague 1 Mayor Oldřich Lomecký (TOP 09) said when the ban was proposed that the streets in the city center do not offer enough room for both pedestrians and cyclists, and they get into conflict.

“We are seeing such conflicts every day, and that is the essence of the problem. The footpaths are intended primarily for pedestrians, and they complain,” Lomecký said at the time.

The Technical Administration of Roadways (TSK) is responsible for placing the signs. The process has already started and should be complete by the end of July, according to TSK spokeswoman Barbora Lišková.

The signs need to be at all the intersections around the border of the affected area. Lišková told the media that new signs have to be put in place, and existing signs and road markings need to be modified to reflect the restrictions. Yellow signs marking cycling routes also need to be changed.

Most of the work will be done in the evenings to minimize the disturbance.

Signs to show the ban include a round white sign with a black bicycle in the middle of a red circle, with a rectangular sign underneath stating “10 –17 ” in black letters.

The pro-cycling civic group Auto*Mat has strongly opposed the ban, saying that it forces cyclists into busy streets that have insufficient provisions for cyclists, and this puts cyclists at risk of accidents. On Vodička and Lazarská streets, cyclists will be in the way of tram traffic. Auto*Mat was unsuccessful in its efforts to stop the ban, however. Courier companies that make bike deliveries also opposed the ban.

The ban will apply to: Na Můstku, 28. října, Na Příkopě (from Wenceslas Square to Havířská), Wenceslas Square (lower part), Železná (from Havelská toward Old Town Sqaure), Melantrichova, náměstí Republiky, Celetná, náměstí Franze Kafky, Malé náměstí, Old Town Square, Maiselova (between Široká and Břehová), Michalská, Vejvodova, Jalovcová, Jilská (from the Zlatá intersection to Karlova), and Karlova.

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