Court orders Prague 8 to change cycling rules

The city district has been trying to institute restrictions on bikes for several years

The Municipal Court in Prague ordered the Prague 8 district to cancel a measure aimed at limiting cyclists from riding on one-way streets in Karlín in the opposite direction of vehicle traffic. The district has 90 days to comply. The transportation website Zdopravy.cz reported the decision.

The cycling advocacy group Auto*Mat and a Prague 8 resident brought the case against the district.

The conflict between the Prague 8 Town Hall and cyclists since the district began to try to limit cycling in Karlín in 2012.

this is not the first court case involving cycling rules in Prague 8. The district tried to introduce even more restrictive measures against cycling in 2016 and in 2017, blocking cycling in certain areas, but the Supreme Administrative Court overturned those measures. The Town Hall tried to implement new measures again last summer.

The district posted a draft of a third set of measures on the Town Hall’s electronic notice board, which it deleted after 18 days after it received no objections. Previously announced measures had been met with some public outcry when they were posted.

The court ordered the current measures to be annulled, as the Prague 8 District Office failed to comply with the statutory conditions for the procedure for issuing a measure of a general nature. Among other things, the court stated that the textual and graphics part of the general measure was not sufficiently connected. The court held the measure did not fulfill the legal condition of clarity.

The city district now has 90 days to cancel the measures. It will probably have to release new ones because the introduction of blue parking zones is part of the same traffic measure.

Prague City Hall has been trying to encourage cycling as an alternative means of transportation, in part to reduce pollution, but the individual districts have sometimes been at odds with the concept.

Prague 1 has sought to ban cycling in parts of the city center during working hours, and that issue has also wound up in the courts, with the courts deciding against the district.

Cycling advocates have long held that the city needs a better plan for cycling lanes, as many of the existing ones lack logic, starting and stopping at seemingly random locations, leaving cyclists in the middle of traffic with no place to go safely.

Cycling advocates would also like to see more cycle lanes separated from traffic by barriers, rather than just a painted line on the edge of the street, as cars often ignore or block those paths.

Unlike in cities such as Amsterdam, there is not a large cycling culture in Prague. Using a bike to commute in the city is difficult due to the disconnected nature of the cycling routes as well as the attitude of motor vehicle drivers, who do not look out for bicycles on the road.

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