Prague 1 banning electric scooters in pedestrian zones

Prague 1 says talks with Lime have not progressed, so the district will have to take steps on its own

Raymond Johnston

Written by Raymond Johnston
Published on 14.01.2020 10:00 (updated on 14.01.2020)

Shared electric scooters will be facing more restrictions. They have proved to be increasingly unpopular with both Prague City Hall and district administrations, and Prague 1 now joins in by banning the scooters from pedestrian zones. The district claims there has been a lack of cooperation with scooter operator Lime.

The Prague 1 Town Hall said it plans to protect Prague residents and visitors from commercial electric scooters and similar vehicles that it claims endanger pedestrian safety. The district will ban the entry of commercial electric scooters and other vehicles into the pedestrian zones in the center.

The prohibition won’t affect bicycles, classic e-bikes, or non-motorized scooters. Residents who own electric scooters will be able to apply at the Prague 1 office for permission to use them, similarly to cars.

Lime scooters
Lime scooters on the sidewalk. via Raymond Johnston

“We do not see the
point in forbidding everything immediately, we always conduct
negotiations in which we try to set fair conditions for both sides.
We want to do business well in Prague 1, but the business must not
bother the locals,” Prague 1 Councilor David Skála, (Praha 1
Sobě), responsible for transport, said on the district’s website.

“Lime has not met
any of our requirements for safe and reasonable traffic, so after a
year of hard negotiations we have to take the next step and prepare
to restrict [the scooters] in pedestrian zones in the city center,”
Skala added.

The city district
expects that dozens of applications for exceptions for personal
scooters, but this is a small number compared to the hundreds of
commercial e-scooters found on streets in the city center.

“I discussed the
solution to the pilot ban on scooters and other tourist attractions
with Prague Deputy Mayor for Transportation Adam Scheinherr, who met
us, and I also have met with the police. We have designed a specific
form of supplementing the existing signage and the entry ban may take
effect the next new tourist season,” Skála said.

scooter ban
Signs banning electric scooters. via Prague 1

The Prague 2 district has also been seeking to ban e-scooters on its entire territory, and in September filed a criminal complaint against Lime for creating a menace. Prague 2 says that scooter users ignore the rules and ride the vehicles on sidewalks, and that the scooters are left at places that cause hazards such as doorways and intersections.

The Transport Ministry has ruled that e-scooters face the same legal framework as bicycles, and cannot be driven on sidewalks.

Lime can remotely
restrict its scooters in some areas via GPS, but has only blocked the
scooters in náměstí Míru and its immediate surroundings,
Folimanka Park, Vyšehrad Park, Havlíčkovy sady and rail station
Hlavní nádraží, and not in the entire district as Prague 2 has
requested.

Lime Operations
Manager Ondřej Široký at the time claimed the company has the
agreed requirements in the memorandum of understanding with the city.

lime scooter
Trashed lime scooter. via Reddit

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Lime scooters arrived in Prague in September 2018, and quickly became controversial. Lime has been trying to cooperate with the city to avoid the fate of Segways, which were banned from large areas of Prague at the end of 2016. City Hall, though, has not been impressed with the progress of discussions for continued use of Lime scooters in the city.

The city sees shared
vehicles as a way to reduce pollution. There are also several shared
bicycle, electric bicycle and electric car services operating in the
city.

On the other hand, the city has been trying to rid the streets of beer bicycles, faux-historical vehicles, and visual smog such as giant fur costumes, inappropriate signage, and bubble blowers.

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