Segway ban expanding

Prague 10 seeks to join the list, following Prague 2

The Prague 10 Town Hall intends to ask Prague City Hall to extend the ban on Segway personal transporters to the Vršovice neighborhood, out of fears that tour groups may start coming there once they are forced out of Prague 2.

The administration of Prague 2 recently asked to be added to the banned zone, due to complaints from residents. The ban in all of Prague 2 should take effect at the start of July, once signs are in place. It may take effect sooner in Riegrovy sady and other parks if signs go up at the park entrances, as parks are regulated under different rules than public roadways.

Part of Prague 2 is already covered by the ban, including the areas around Náměstí Míru and Vyšehrad. The extension would cover the rest of the district.

The new ban in Prague 10 will be bordered by the streets U Zdravotního ústavu, Benešovská, Ruská, Bělocerkevská, U Slavie, U Vršovického hřbitova and Bohdalecká.

The law requires road signs around the entire banned area, and this had caused months of delays in enforcing the law when it took effect in August. The first fines for violating the law were not handed out until the middle of December.

Currently, there are 610 signs in the city, many in unlikely places such as highways, bridges and stairs. The city says that the placement was dictated by the map. The signs including the stands cost Kč 6,065 each. The total spent on signs so far, not counting the Prague 2 expansion and Prague 10, is Kč 3.7 million.

Prague City Hall relied on the individual districts for input when it drew up the map of where Segways would be banned. Prage 2 initially only sought a limited ban, leaving open a space starting right behind Wenceslas Square. While most Segway operators shut down in December, some moved their operations and began tours into the unregulated areas of Prague 2 including Riegrovy sady, which offers a good view of the city center.

Residents of Vršovice say they have not seen Segway tours their yet, but the district administration fears that the Segways will play “whack-a-mole” and pop up somewhere else as soon as they are knocked out of another area.

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.

Before the law was changed, Segways and similar self-balancing personal transporters were considered pedestrians. A change had to be made to roadway laws to reclassify them as vehicles. Once that happened, Prague was able to regulate which roads and streets they could use.

Residents and tourists in the city's historical center had long complained of Segway tours on the narrow streets. The city had negotiated with groups representing Segway operators, but the situation did not improve. The ban, when it was announced, was more restrictive than had been expected. Aside from Prague 1, which covers most of the historical area, it took effect in parts of Prague 2, most of Žižkov in Prague 3, Letná and parts of Prague 7, Karlín in Prague 8, part of Smíchov Prague 5 and most of Prague 4.

When the law took 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 were aware of the ban and stating the amount of the fine. The back of the leaflet has a map showing where the ban is in effect. Segway operators complained that the ad campaign did them economic harm, as the required road signs had not been put up and therefore the ban was not in effect. Segway operators also announced previously that they will seek to get the ban overturned in the courts.

The leaflet with the original zone map can be seen here www.praha.eu.

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