Beer bikes facing ban

Prague 1 is spearheading efforts to get the mobile bars out of the city center

Beer bikes will most likely be pushed out of Prague’s city center, as the Prague 1 district has proposed a ban on wheeled vehicles with tables and taps. The new rule could come into effect by the start of the summer.

This follows after a ban on Segways, which took effect at the end of 2016. After the two-wheeled self-balancing vehicles were forced out of the city center, other districts also banned them.

The beer bikes have up to 15 customers who pedal while drinking beer around a table. A non-drinking tour guide steers the vehicle. People have complained the slow-moving beer bikes block traffic, interfere with bike lanes, and the drinking tourists create noise and garbage.

So far, beer bikes have been able to go wherever cyclists or scooters are allowed to enter. Under Czech laws, beer bikes are considered non-motorized vehicles where alcohol is banned only for the driver.

“In our opinion, the beer bikes do not bring any good to the citizens of Prague, and we will fulfill what we promised. We will forbid this loud entertainment throughout the city district. Alco-tourism does not belong in Prague,” Prague 1 Mayor Pavel Čižinský (Praha 1 Sobě) said.

Prague 1 Councilor David Skála, responsible for transportation, presented material supporting a ban to both the Prague 1 Town Hall and to Prague City Hall.

“We will forbid all the beer bicycles from entering the center and at the same time we will not restrict cyclists or suppliers who deliver goods on bicycles and significantly relieve the traffic of the congested center,” Skála said.

The implementation will be easier than the one for the Segway ban.

“We will use existing signs that prohibit the entry of vehicles weighing over 3.5 tons or over six tons, to which we will attach a new label. This will save the city significantly,” Skála said.

The added label will indicate the beer bike ban.

One issue with the Segway ban was that a new network of hundreds of metal road signs had to be put up across the relevant districts, which was both time consuming and expensive.

Two options are being considered. The first would ban the beer bikes in Old Town, New Town, Josefov, Malá Strana and Hradčany. The second option would also include areas outside of Prague 1 such as Bubeneč, Smíchov, and from Vyšehrad to Braník.

For the ban to extend beyond Prague 1, it would need the approval of the City Council and the Municipal Transportation Department.

The ban would also specify that the wheelbase of the vehicles could not extend beyond 1.2 meters. Prague 7 already uses this criterion to keep the beer bikes out of Letná Park
The ban is expected to get support both from the Prague 1 District and Prague City Hall.

As was the case with Segways, the operators of beer bikes are expected to take legal action. There are about a dozen companies offering beer bike tours.

“We will deal with our lawyers for the next steps. Of course, we would like to adjust our operation to meet the requirements and needs of Prague 1 residents. The Town Hall did not show any willingness to negotiate with us,” the company Original Beer Bike said in a written statement for daily Pražský deník.

Skála said that a large number of complaints, including interference with tram traffic, creates a valid reason for the ban. He added that most of the bikes in Prague came from other cities where beer bikes have been banned already, and once they are banned in Prague they are likely to be moved again to cities further to the east.

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