Prague Court Overturns Prague City Center Bike Ban

A court has annulled a ban on bikes in the center of the Czech capital - will Prague be more accessible for cyclists?

The civic bicycling initiative Auto*Mat announced yesterday that a court in Prague has canceled restrictions on cyclists in the city center that were introduced by the city council on May 1.

On the basis of our action, the Municipal Court abolished measures of a general nature that set up cycling restrictions in pedestrian zones in the center of Prague…the district may lodge a complaint within 14 days against the judgment,” the public cycling and traffic-free Prague advocates group wrote in a Facebook post.

The ban, intended to keep scooters and electric bikes out of pedestrian areas between 10 am and 5 pm, restricted cyclists in twenty-three streets around Wenceslas Square, Old Town Square, and Josefov. The council introduced the measure after claiming that cyclists were becoming increasingly hazardous to tourists.

Auto*mat has long criticized the ban, saying the restriction was exaggerated; it filed a suit on April 24. Following the appearance of white painted lines on sidewalks in bike-prohibited areas such as Náměstí Republiky, which were met with harsh criticism by politicians and conservationists alike, it released this humorous video (click through to the Auto*mat Facebook feed to watch with English subtitles).

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In the last ten years, according to police statistics, three cyclist and pedestrian accidents were recorded in the pedestrian zones, while at the same place, that is, in the pedestrian zones in the center of Prague, twenty-two car accidents were recorded,” said an Auto*mat spokesperson.

The group says it remains committed to working with city officials to find a way for bikes, cars, and pedestrians to peacefully co-exist.

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Prague 1 officials are expected to announce further details regarding the decision next week.

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While cycling enthusiasts are celebrating, not everyone is thrilled by the news. One online commenter posted to Facebook group CrowdSauce:

“It is really bad news for us, who live in P1. Because besides the citizens of Prague, there are hundreds of tourists on bikes. And that is really scary and absolutely not fun when on those narrow streets there are like 10-15 people on bikes and some of them are not good on those bikes and some of them are scared. For me to get home safe it is an everyday quest.”

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