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Cycling tours to be a thing of the past

A daytime ban on cycling in some of Prague’s major tourist areas will be enforced from the end of the month. While restrictions were introduced at the end of May, the ban is not currently being enforced as traffic signs are not yet in place.

Cycling is not allowed in the Czech capital’s most visited areas between the hours of 10am and 5pm, with the Prague 1 district, which has imposed the ban, arguing that they are a hazard to tourists.

Areas include part of Wenceslas Square, Karlova street on the approach to the 600-year-old Charles Bridge, and Josefov, site of the city’s former Jewish ghetto.

The ban was originally intended to apply only to motorised bikes marketed to tourists since the city banned Segways in 2016, but was then expanded to include all bikes.

Prague 1 Mayor Oldřich Lomecký told prague.tv that city centre streets aren’t wide enough for both pedestrians and cyclists.

“We are seeing such conflicts every day, and that is the essence of the problem,” he said. “The footpaths are intended primarily for pedestrians, and they complain.”

Signs informing people of the ban are now being put up around the border of the affected area.

Auto*Mat, a local pro-cycling campaign group, says that nearly 1,000 cars will retain permits to enter central Prague’s otherwise pedestrian-only zones.

Vratislav Filler said: “Data shows there were 21 pedestrians hit by cars over the past 10 years, and only three involved in accidents with bicycles.

“The council just doesn’t think supporting cycling or creating corridors for cyclists is necessary in the city centre. It means cyclists are going to be forced on to streets that are dangerous because they have heavy car traffic and busy tram lines.”

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