Police are hitting bike trails

A new program is aimed at improving safety through education

Prague police will be taking to the cycling paths in an effort to raise awareness of the rules of the road and help to spread information on safety. Covered stands will be set up to serve as information points, and some officer will be riding the trails.

“Bicycling has become increasingly popular. In Prague, the number of cyclists who use bicycles for sports, relaxation or as an alternative means of transport has significantly increased in recent years,” police spokesman Ladislav Beránek said on the Czech Police website.

He added that infrastructure was being adapted and dedicated to cycling, including paths and trails for bicycles alone and for mixed use by pedestrians and cyclists.

“Recently, new traffic signs have also emerged for cyclists,” he added. Not all cyclists are familiar with the signs.

This is why the police from the press and prevention department decided to focus more on this group of road users. The aim of the cycle team (cyklotým) is to raise awareness among cyclists about the new traffic signs, the rules for safe cycling on bicycle trails, and also about compulsory bicycle equipment, which is often lacking in newly purchased bicycles. Mud flaps, brakes, reflectors and a light at night are mandatory, for example.

The police will advise on bicycle safety, and there will also be demonstrations of the resistance of the most frequently used types of bicycle locks.

The team will be giving out short tests that contains questions about bike rules and safety. “In the information stand, aside from bike tests, police officers will also have leaflets with useful information, maps of Prague cycling routes and many other items. For those who correctly answer the test, there are small prizes such as bicycle lights and reflective accessories. Additionally police on bikes will alert riders to possible shortcomings and help with their removal,” Beránek said.

The police cycle team will be on popular cycling trails throughout Prague.

The police had some good news to offer. “The number of bicycle thefts have been decreasing in Prague over the past two years, but statistics show that there are three bikes stolen in Prague every day, and it is obvious that the thieves are still interested in them,” Beránek said.

While recreational trails are popular in Prague, and several have been built of upgraded in the past few years, using bikes to commute in the city remains difficult. It may grow more difficult still, as the city has been contemplating setting hours for cycling in the city center to deal with congestion caused by bike tours, which have largely replaced Segway tours.

Prague cyclists in particular complain of the lack of a complete north-south path along the river from one end of the city to the other. Paths in the city remain very fragmentary, making it hard to commute from one specific location to another. Paths also often are not isolated from other traffic, making riders vulnerable to inattentive motorists.

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