Prague reaches agreement on bikesharing

The city has met with providers to set some basic rules to stop conflicts

Bike sharing should be easier, as Prague City Hall has signed an agreement with the service operators to set rules that are intended to benefit residents and visitors, and also improve the quality of the environment.

Prague Deputy Mayor Petr Dolínek (ČSSD) met with representatives of bike sharing firms Rekola, Velonet, HomePort and Lime.

Bike sharing allows people to use a phone app to locate and rent a bike that is locked somewhere in the city or at a specific station and then ride it to another location and leave it there.

Bikesharing is beneficial for congested parts of cities since bikes take up less space than cars and also don’t pollute, according to City Hall.

Bicycle transport is suitable for shorter distances, but electric bikes can be used for significantly longer ones. The significant benefits of bike-sharing for urban mobility include, in particular, being able to combine sharing a bicycle ride with public transport by taking a bike to the public transit stop and leaving it there or picking one up at the stop for the last segment of the journey.

“The shared bicycle system is a further step for Prague toward higher quality transport and sustainable development of the city. Praguers and visitors will have a new attractive opportunity to move around the city and reduce the number of harmful substances in the air,” Dolínek said.

The companies that have signed the memorandum agreed to motivate their users to place bicycles in places where they are not an obstacle for other users of public spaces, which is the most common concern.

The city is committed to developing an urban infrastructure that will allow bikes to be parked in selected locations legally and out of conflicts.

The signers also committed themselves to share data to streamline traffic, to communicate bilaterally, and to promote mutual consideration among users.

Vítek Ježek, founder & CEO of Rekola Bikesharing said the shared bike system works successfully all over the world. “We are pleased to find common ground with the City Council, and we can work together to improve this service and bring it closer to that in Western metropolises such as Amsterdam or Brussels,” he said.

“Obviously, we have duties, such as informing the public about the proper and safe riding, removing unrideable bicycles within 24 hours and solving all problems connected with bikes,” he added.

The memorandum is also signed by Velonet, which has installed racks in Prague 4 that are also open to use by other bicycle users. Other city districts are also expanding bike parking facilities.

Homeport was been running a bike station system in Karlín this year for electric and standard bikes. The company plans to go into competition with firms that don’t require bikes to be picked up or left at specific stations.

Lime Network is about to enter Prague with a fleet of electric urban scooters. The memorandum applies to them as the scooter is legally classified as a bicycle and the same rules apply to it, according to City Hall.

About bike sharing companies:

Rekola Bikesharing has pink bikes. It began as a small Prague start-up in 2013. Now they have more than 100,000 monthly rentals. Anonymous data from them is used to improve infrastructure in eight Czech cities: Prague, Brno, Ostrava, Olomouc, České Budějovice, Liberec, Teplice and newly in Frýdek-Místek.

Velonet ČR in 2016 introduced red bikes with have adjustable seats, hidden brakes and an eight-speed derailleur in the wheel hub. Instead of a chain, they have a cardan shaft, and there's also LED front and rear lights. It uses the existing platform Social Bicycles that provides a system with dozens of locations in the US and Europe.

Homeport is a Czech company that designs, develops and supplies urban bike sharing systems. It offers an e-bike sharing system that allows borrowing within two seconds using an application or cards such as Lítačka, ISIC or Inkarta. Their systems operate in nine countries: the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Poland, France, the United Kingdom, Saudi Arabia, Canada, Finland and Gibraltar. The brand uses green bikes.

Lime Network is a bike sharing company based in the United States in 2017. Its founders wanted to reduce people’s dependence on passenger cars for short-distance transport. In addition to eighty US cities, their green-and-yellow bikes are in Europe in Zurich, Frankfurt, Berlin, Paris, Madrid and Valencia, and are now coming to Prague.


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