A bike lane in the roadway? Unhappy, say cyclists and experts, Prague defends the way
“Cycling lanes in the center of Prague are in most cases solved very unhappily. By repainting them to the existing width of the road, they limit drivers and cyclists, “shared Jan Mišák, who rides his bike around Prague daily, for iDNES.cz.
He notes that it is also a very common phenomenon that the end of the cycle lane is so-called lost, which surprises both drivers and cyclists, who suddenly appear in the car lane.
Last year, according to a spokesperson for the Technical Administration of Roads, Barbora Liška, 31 kilometers of “news” for cyclists appeared in Prague. Most of them had “new forms of cycle lanes” – for example, in Husitská, Modřanská and Novodvorská streets, over 19 kilometers of reserved lanes for cyclists, protective lanes and pictor corridors were added.
There are two types of cycle lanes in the Czech Republic. “We have had classics that only cyclists can ride here for about ten years. The cycle lanes, which we see in Modřanská and other streets, for example, have been a novelty since 2016, “Vratislav Filler from the laboratory of sustainable urbanism operating within the AutoMat association told iDNES.cz.
According to Filler, the newer type of bicycle lanes leaves a narrower space for cars (2.5 meters), but it works in such a way that if a cyclist is not present, the driver can hit the lane without breaking anything. it must not endanger the cyclist when overtaking.
“When I see the character of the new cycle lanes in a number of streets, where local first-class roads lead – I would mention Evropská Street as an example, but we also have such examples in Prague 8 – it does not seem ideal from the point of view of safety. And to tell you the truth, I don’t even see that cyclists would use these lanes en masse, “said occasional cyclist Martin Jedlička for iDNES.cz.
“It is far from an ideal solution, because it takes up space for ordinary motorized transport, ie cars, trucks and buses that move around large cities,” said Igor Sirota, spokesman for the Central Automobile Club of the Czech Republic.
“The places are to be judged on an individual basis, they have to be properly discussed by the local road authorities, they have to respect the opinion of the police and it is not to put pressure on the force as a whole, which is now happening. The question is also why they are called protective, when they are not separate and therefore cars can enter them, “added Jedlička.
Mišák, on the other hand, acknowledges that the infrastructure of Prague for bicycle traffic is not historically adapted and according to him there is not much other variant. “At the same time, I must appreciate that in recent years, the overall situation has at least begun to change for the better, because a few years ago you would have had a hard time looking for a bike lane,” he said.
Prague: Streaks of fluency
The Prague City Hall does not consider stripes to be problematic. “In the case of lanes for cyclists, so-called ‘protective lanes’, which trucks and buses can pass, the minimum width of the parallel lane for vehicles is 2.5 m, which allows smooth passing of cars and cyclists,” he told iDNES.cz Ondřej Chlupáček, assistant to Prague Square for the transport of Adam Scheinherr (Prague himself).
The vehicle overtakes the cyclist by deviating into the parallel lane or the opposite lane so that they do not endanger the cyclist – similarly as if no cycle lane was marked. “Even lanes for cyclists do not reduce the capacity of roads for motor transport, on the contrary, they facilitate the safe passage of cars, which significantly predominate in the city, with cyclists, which allows for fluency,” added Chlupáček.
According to Vratislav Filler, in some cases – for example in Modřanská Street – poor implementation was to blame, as the line in the middle of the road was not shifted, but this was subsequently corrected. Filler has confirmed such obvious cases.
“Apart from Modřanská, in 2018 there were badly painted cycle lanes in Ke Kíčovu Street, and in the summer of 2021 the lines in Voctářov Street were not in order for some time,” said Filler. I add that it is possible that in several other places in Prague the lines are not in the position exactly according to the project – they may be a quarter of a meter wrong – however, according to his expert, the expert has not explicitly confirmed this.
Brno and Pilsen do not know the Prague problem
In 2020, approximately 3.9 km of cycling measures were marked in the city of Brno. “We do not yet have a protective lane for cyclists in Brno,” Filip Poňuchálek, a spokesman for the Brno City Hall, told iDNES.cz, adding that any other measure must ensure the simultaneous driving of vehicles and cyclists, which should also apply to lanes.
Most pictogram corridors were created in Brno, ie horizontal markings, which define the space and direction of travel for cyclists and motor vehicle drivers, that they are located on a road with increased bicycle traffic. A total of 1,730 m were created. The only other item was the newly created pedestrian path with a permitted entry of cyclists in the length of 1455 m.
Even in Pilsen, they do not perceive the problem, given that in the city there are only a few tens of meters of cycle lanes in the main traffic area. “Most of the bicycle roads in Pilsen are separate or mixed – for pedestrians and cyclists – trails, or trails with separate pedestrian and cyclist traffic – separate lanes in the sidewalk,” said Eva Barborková, head of the press department of the Pilsen municipality, for iDNES.cz.
In total, according to Barborková, in 2020 they implemented at least 4 km of cycling measures. Separate cycle paths formed 750 m. 3.2 km of infrastructure was created in the adjacent traffic area of the city, and about 0.3 km in the main traffic area.
Even in Ostrava, they do not register places where bicycle lanes would create traffic complications. “In general, in Ostrava, most cycle paths and cycle routes are associated with sidewalks, there are fewer routes associated with the road. Where it occurs, it does not cause traffic problems or delays, these are not oversized roads, “said Gabriela Pokorná, spokeswoman for the Ostrava City Hall.
A distance of 1.5 m does not apply to the bicycle lane
“If a vehicle for which a lane is reserved is traveling in a reserved lane at a different speed than other vehicles traveling in the same direction, pursuant to § 14 para. 3 of the Road Traffic Act on mutual overtaking, “said Hana Rubášová from the Communication Department of the Police Presidium of the Czech Republic for iDNES.cz.
“Pursuant to Section 14 (5) of the Road Traffic Act, a driver of another vehicle may also enter a lane for cyclists if the adjacent lane is not wide enough for that vehicle,” added Rubášová. However, when entering a lane for cyclists, the driver must not endanger the cyclist in that lane.
The creation of cycle lanes is planned nationwide and in the future. “The total length of cycle paths approved by the Committee of the State Fund for Transport Infrastructure (SFDI) in 2021 is 88,285 km, of which 5,980 km are cycle lanes,” František Jemelka, spokesman of the Ministry of Transport of the Czech Republic, told iDNES.cz. According to Jemelka, these are trails that are under construction or construction will begin in 2021. While the cycle path is a separate road for cyclists, the cycle lane is a traffic measure involving cyclists directly into traffic – it runs parallel to the road for motor vehicles.
Jemelka added that SFDI also supports the implementation of lanes for cyclists, however, this option is used infrequently. “These are less expensive solutions – there is no need to finance from the SFDI – and they tend to contribute in connection with a more extensive regulation of a specific road and in agreement with the road administrator with the local government,” the spokesman said. The share of implemented cycle lanes from the SFDI budget in the total volume of funds for bicycle infrastructure cannot be generalized as the rate of implementation of cycle lanes in the entire Czech Republic.
“The cycle paths are still increasing, which is in line with the fact that SFDI contributions to the construction of cycle paths are growing and money from the IROP is also going to them,” said Jemelka, a spokesman for the Ministry of Transport. There are 40,000 kilometers of marked cycle paths and approximately 3,500 km of cycle paths in the Czech Republic. While the cycle path is a separate road for cyclists, the cycle path is only the marking of the path in the terrain with the help of signs, so it is only a guide from where to go and where to go. The total length of marked cycling routes in Prague is now 520 km.