Prague 1 seeks compromise on bike ban

District officials have met with cycling advocates following a court ruling

The pro-biking association Auto * Mat has met with the representatives of Prague 1 City Hall for the first time. In July the district that covers the city center introduced limitations on bikes. Just as the signs were going up the Municipal Court intervened with a favorable response to a lawsuit from Auto*Mat.

The suit claimed that public opinion had not been adequately taken into account. Prague 1 said it will not appeal the court’s ruling.

Prague 1 sought to limit biking in from 10 am to 5 pm daily in a large section of downtown due to concerns over safety. Segways, which had been causing problems in the city center, were banned in 2016 and have largely been replaced by bike tours and various types of electric scooters. These have now become a subject of concern and a blanket ban was seen by Prague 1 as the easiest way to stop the problem and eliminate loopholes.

After winning in court, Auto * Mat offered to help the Prague 1 administration find a solution that will ensure safety for pedestrians but minimize the restrictions on cyclists.

Auto*Mat members Vratislav Filler a Martin Šotola met with Prague 1 Mayor Oldřich Lomecký (TOP 09), Prague 1 Counselor for transport Richard Bureš (ODS), Prague 1 Transport Director Ludvík Czital, the city cycling commission chairman Stanislav Kozubek and architect Tomáš Cach.

Prague 1 submitted a proposal to allow bike transit through náměstí Republiky and Na Příkopě. The district still wants to restrict bike traffic on the Royal Route from the Powder Tower to Charles Bridge and up to Prague Castle, and Old Town Square.

Auto*Mat says it is possible to keep restrictions in crowded locations near the Astronomical Clock, Malé náměstí and Karlova Street.

Auto*Mat and the cycling commission have one month to assess Prague 1’s proposal. Individual areas will be categorized according to how problematic they are, and the parties have to agree on further steps. Further negotiations with Prague 1 will take place Sept. 6.

Aside from irking cycling advocates, the ban also upset monument care officials in Prague, as some of the signs to ban cycling were painted directly on the pavement and were deemed to be an unsightly intrusion in the protected area.

The original ban covered 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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