Electric scooters replacing Segways in Prague's center

Police say laws for bicycles will keep scooter tours off the sidewalks

Tourists on Segways have disappeared from the city center due to a new law, but the companies that had been renting them out have started to switch to other types of vehicles such as electric scooters. City officials though, say that there are still issues to be resolved.

Segways disappeared from Prague's center in December 2016 after more than 600 signs were put up at roadways. A law banning Segways took effect in the summer, but could not be enforced until the signs were in place. People riding on Segways in the prohibited area face a fine of up to Kč 2,000.

People had complained that the Segways were blocking pedestrians on the sidewalks, and also that touts for Segway tours were very aggressive and intimidating.

In the absence of Segways, new vehicles for tourists are being seen. The situation regarding electric scooters though is better than it had been with Segways. Scooters are governed by the same laws as bicycles and are already prohibited from sidewalks. No new signs or laws are needed to be able to enforce fines.

Prague Police spokeswoman Irena Seifertová said the police had noted more scooters in the center, and police have been dealing with cases of scooters on the sidewalks, in violation of traffic rules.

Police have also noted that Segway operators have not vanished completely from the center. Some operaotrs still park Segways in the banned zone as advertising, and try to interest people in taking tours in the areas where they are still allowed. Potentially this is in violation of laws and marketing and street advertising, and on use of public spaces, Seifertová said.

The large part of Segway operators have moved to Prague 2, as it is the closest area to the city center where Segways are allowed. Prague 2 Deputy Mayor Jan Korseska told daily Mladá fronta Dnes that the district had become an island for Segways, and residents have been complaining. As a result, Prague 2 has asked to be added to the prohibition zone, and this should be in effect by the summer.

Segway operators have also filed a lawsuit against the ban, claiming the law unfairly harms their business.

Prague 1 Mayor Oldřich Lomecký also said that people offering sightseeing riding tours of the city are often operating without a permit to use public spaces, and not paying fees. This harms tour operators who are operating within the law. He wants trade offices and police to work together to solve the problem.

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