Car drivers come across more and more lanes for cyclists in Prague, which require vigilance and sometimes a great deal of patience due to the narrow roads. It seems that the municipality wants to cross the entire metropolis with them soon, because it is investing record funds in cycling infrastructure this year. However, the bicycle so far accounts for only about 1% of the total traffic in the capital, as Praguers go there mainly for recreation and in nice weather during the summer months. The metropolis is still dominated by cars, which make up a third of all traffic.
This year, Prague is investing a record 370 million crowns in the development of cycling infrastructure on today’s 21 new trails, design work and studies of further development. The municipality also planned to invest in bicycle transport during 2021 through the Technical Administration of the Capital City of Prague. of the City of Prague (TSK) a total of 122 million crowns for 7 km of new cycle paths.
The biggest controversy among Prague residents is the construction of new cycle lanes, which, especially in the city center, slow down traffic and are dangerous not only for motorists, but also for cyclists, who often share a very narrow road with cars.
However, according to Prague Mayor Zdeněk Hřib (Pirates), record investments have their justification. “A comparison of 2020 with 2019 shows the intensity of cyclists by a total of 38%. The city must respond to this increased demand. That is why we are working hard to develop the infrastructure for bicycle transport in the city, ”the result for Echo24, Mayor Hřib.
From the TSK data, it really helps to monitor the number of cyclists between the last two years. However, this was mainly due to the coronavirus pandemic and the fact that people more often went out into the fresh air and the bike was also one of the few opportunities for sports in the time of closed gyms and sports fields. However, we still use few people for regular daily trips to work by bike.
The trend persists that most Prague cyclists do not resist the roads in the center of the metropolis and ride more on cycle paths on the outskirts, especially in their free time. Cyclists still ride their bikes out mainly in nice weather, especially in the period from April to August. Most of them will sit on the bike due to the warm weather during July. In the winter months, only a fraction of them move by bike in the metropolis. They were the busiest last year, according to TSK yearbooks Povltavská cycle paths (around Troja Castle) and around the banks of the Vltava in Modřany, where hundreds of thousands of passages a year were unknown. On the other hand, on some roads in the city center, where new and often discussed cycle lanes have sprung up, only dozens of cyclists still move daily. Movement in heavy traffic arouses respect even for the experienced.
But Prague continues to build them. In 2020, a total of 8.4 km of cycle lanes reserved for cyclists and 18.4 km of protective cycle lanes were newly established, where the movement of cars is also planned. There are also 5.8 km of lanes that cyclists share with buses and taxis.
Bike lanes will be wherever it goes
According to TSK spokeswoman Barbora Lišková, cycle lanes are the preferred option in the case of all new transport constructions. “According to the resolution of the Hl. The City of Prague from 2003 and 2016, as a city investor, is obliged to always check the possibility of integrating cycling measures. This means that in all actions we examine the integration of cycling measures, which are then discussed across the relevant state administration bodies and in some cases even implemented, ”says Lišková for Echo24.
Prague is said to be inspired by Switzerland
Adam Scheinherr (Prague himself) is also a supporter of the cycle lanes. “Bicycle lanes are modeled on, for example, Swiss cities. They have used twice as many cyclists for the last two years and do not limit the driver’s capacity in any way, ”says Scheinherr.
However, it is the restriction of motorists that is one of the other more points of criticism of bicycle lanes, because it is not possible to overtake a cyclist by car on some narrow roads in the city center, where the bicycle lane is drawn in the middle of the road. And this applies not only to cars, but in some cases even to trams.
Despite all efforts, the metropolis belongs to motorists
Once in the mentioned Switzerland, cycling is one of the most widespread modes of transport (for example, in the capital Bern it accounts for more than 15% of one air transport), in Prague bicycle transport is TSK only 1%. In contrast, 43% of transports are handled by public transport and 33% by cars. The remaining 23% is pedestrian traffic.
As of 31 December 2020, there were a total of 520 of these marked cycle routes in the capital, 200 of which were known separately from car traffic and the rest are mixed. At the end of last year, there were also a total of 57.8 km of reserved cycle lanes, 35.8 km of protective lanes and 32.1 km of cycle lanes in which cyclists move together with buses and taxis.