Anti-Segway signs now at 610 and set to rise

The ban on Segways has pushed the problem to other neighborhoods

Signs banning Segways are now up to 610, and more may come. It may seem absurd, but signs have had to be put in places where few people would have expected they were needed. For example, signs are now on Barrandov Bridge (Barrandovský most), a busy multi-lane bridge connected to busy main roads on both ends. Likewise, the signs are in distant neighborhoods such as Starý Spořilov, where there is little for tourists to see except for a confusing maze of steep and winding streets. One photograph widely shared on social media shows a sign banning Segways at the base of a staircase in a park in Nusle.

And Prague 2, which did not ask for a large ban on its territory is reconsidering due to complaints about the vehicles.

The tin signs along with the supporting posts costs Kč 6,065 each, and the city has spent some Kč 3.7 million. The move to ban Segways and similar self-balancing personal transporters began due to their infestation of the historical center, where they came into conflict with pedestrians and tourists. The signs, after some delay, went up in mid-December.

The ban on Segways, however, does not cover the whole city and the problem has simply moved out of the center, and sometimes onto busy roads as the Segways have been legally categorized as vehicles. The Segways have had to banned from the Nusle Bridge (Nuselský most) as well as the main arteries that cross the city center: Legerova and Sokolská streets.

The wording of the law has made implementing a ban on Segways difficult, and signs have had to be placed in almost absurd places, according to City Councilor Petr Dolínek (ČSSD), who is responsible for transportation.

The law, which went into effect over the summer of 2016 but was delayed from enforcement by the lack of signs, allows the city to ban Segways from sidewalks and bike paths as well as roads. Segways had previously been legally considered pedestrians, but now are vehicles.

The ban was also more extensive than originally planned, as the administrations of several city districts asked to be included out of fears that the Segways would move there from the center. Part of Vinohrady up to náměstí Míru is included, as is Žižkov, Letná, Karlín, Pankrác and Spořilov.

Prague 3 spokeswoman Michaela Luňáčková told daily Lidové noviny that there had been a small number of complaints about Segways near the Žižkov TV Tower and Jiřího z Poděbrad before the ban, but that the district was added out of fear that too many Segways would arrive once the ban took place elsewhere.

Prague 4 authorities followed a similar logic, and signs have had to go up on busy highways and other unlikely places where the two-wheeled vehicles might venture.

Prague 2, however, did not ask for such an extensive ban and has seen a surge of Segway tours as it is the closest area to the city center where the vehicles are allowed. Tours been starting right behind the National Museum and going into Vinohrady along Vinohradská Street. Tours have also been going through Riegrovy sady, despite signs in the park banning bikes, skateboards and roller blades on most paths, and a posted general ban of all vehicles except emergency vehicles. The tour guides, like the ones previously downtown, have been rude and aggressive when asked if they are allowed in the park, even threatening to call the police on local residents for videotaping and photographing them.

Josef Gál of the Prague 2 Town Hall Department of Transportation and Zoning told Lidové noviny that there was an increase in complaints and that resident felt they were in peril from the vehicles. He said more signs will likely have to up in Prague 2, and that talks between Prague 2 and City Hall were scheduled.

Fines for violating the ban are up to Kč 2,000. Some 16 fines or warnings were given out the day the ban finally went into effect in December.

A leaflet with a map of the banned area can be seen here

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