Fines given out for Segways

The city is finally enforcing a ban on the two-wheeled self-balancing vehicles

Police began enforcing the ban on Segways in Prague on Saturday, Dec. 10. All of the 601 street signs marking the areas where the self-balancing personal transporters are not allowed had finally been put in place. Some 16 people were stopped on Saturday and none on Sunday. Seven of the people paid symbolic fines totaling Kč 900, and the eight others will be dealt with as misdemeanor cases. One case was resolved on the spot by police. Fines can go up to Kč 2,000. All of those caught were in Prague 1. Most tour operators were already closed on Saturday.

Segways were used in the city center mostly by tourists. Prague residents, on the other hand, had long complained of them blocking narrow sidewalks. Aside from the inconvenience the Segways caused there was a safety concern as there had been several accidents. Touts were also often very aggressive in the manner that they drove up to people in the city center to offer tours and rude in demanding that pedestrians cede the right of way for them.

Regulations banning the use of Segways were passed in July, and were supposed to take effect in August but the city failed to order the street signs that the law required or allocate funds to make and post them. The first signs went up Nov. 25, showing a silhouette of a person on a Segway inside a red circle.

The Segway vehicles were already banned in Kampa in Prague 1 and in Vyšehrad in Prague 2, due to the fact that those areas could be regulated as city parks. A more extensive ban required changes to the roadway law defining vehicles, so Segways could be reclassified. Segways are now banned in all of the historical heritage area of Prague 1 and Prague 2, plus Prague 4, Prague 7, part of Prague 8, Žižkov in Prague 3 and Smíchov in Prague 5.

Segway tour operators still oppose the law, and are taking the matter up with the Ministry of Transportation. Some operators are pushing for tours to be allowed along designated routes such as bicycle paths.

When the law was supposed to take effect in August, leaflets and posters were distributed with a bold banner stating “Segway? No Way!” in large blue letters, and a text in English, German, Russian and Italian asking people if they are aware of the ban and stating the amount of the fine. The back of the leaflet had a map showing where the ban is in effect. Segway operators even complained that the ad campaign did them economic harm, as the law was invalid due to the lack of signs.

With the signs finally up, the era of Segways in the city center should be at an end, at least until the Ministry of Transportation addresses the complaints.

You can see the leaflet with the map here

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