Municipal Police will be on Prague’s bike paths this summer. They will inform cyclists about safety when riding in an effort to prevent traffic accidents and thefts.
The police cycle team (Policejní cyklotým) is not giving out fines to cyclists on the bike paths. If there is a significant problem, they can call in a police patrol, though.
The officers in cooperation with the safety agency BESIP will operate in Horní Počernice, Radotín, Zbraslav and Braník.
At the information booths, cyclists will be offered a short test on safety issues. They are rewarded with small prizes such as a bicycle light or reflective accessories. Police also show current trends in bicycle security and inform cyclists about how to protect their bikes from thieves.
With increased interest in cycling, the number of accidents has been rising. Prague’s police hope to lower this figure through preventive action. “We are trying to tell everyone on the cycle paths how to ride correctly, and we also explain changes in legislation,” Ondřej Penc, prevention coordinator from the regional police directorate, said, according to daily Pražský deník.
Among other things, a bicycle is required to have two independent independent brakes, a white front reflector, a red rear reflector, orange reflectors on both sides of the pedals and orange reflectors on the spokes of the wheels.
The bike cops often find minor violations such as missing reflectors in the wheel spokes and pedals. The law requires a bike to be visible from the side. Riding while wearing earphones, which distracts people, is also common.
Bikes are sold without all the mandatory safety equipment, and even rental bikes lack some items.
Penc said it is important that cyclists respect others on narrow paths. The most space is occupied by skaters, the least by cyclists. One of the most common offenses in the city is cyclists riding on the sidewalk.
He also recommends that both cyclists and skaters wear helmets, and that parents should ensure children wear helmets. Czech law requires people under 18 on bikes and scooters to wear helmets.
The Czech Police on Facebook pointed out that of the 565 fatal traffic accidents last year, 38 were on bicycles, and of those, 30 involved people without helmets. That is 79 percent of bike fatalities. “We encourage you to ride with a helmet at any age,” the Czech Police said.
A fall on the rider’s head from a bike going 15 km per hour is equivalent to falling on concrete from standing on a one-meter tall block. At 25 km per hour that increases to 2.5-meter fall. Crashing into a car going 35 km per hour, while riding at 15 km per hour, equals a fall from 10 meters of concrete, according to a police graphic.
The city bike police also warn against dangerous riding on the popular electric scooters, which due to their design characteristics can lead to serious injuries.
A website for bike safety (in Czech) is at www.nakolejensprilbou.cz.