Prague responds to boom in cycling with plans for new routes

The city is updating its master plan for bike routes to meet increased demand and improve safety.

Raymond Johnston

Written by Raymond Johnston Published on 11.03.2022 16:30:00 (updated on 15.03.2022) Reading time: 2 minutes

More people than ever are traveling by bicycle in Prague. To respond to the change in travel habits, Prague City Hall has released plans to expand key cycle paths and create more connections between city neighborhoods, and between the city and wider Central Bohemia.

The number of cyclists has increased by around 73 percent since 2019. Every second adult in Prague now rides a bike at least once a month.

Interest in non-motorized transport has risen by three-quarters in the last three years alone. According to polling agency Median, the number of people who do not cycle and do not plan to do so has also fallen, with only a third of Prague's population not interested.

A large proportion of cyclists cycle more than once a week, and up to 120,000 Prague residents cycle several times a month. These figures are boosted by a growing number of electric bike and scooter users. Around half of cyclists cite environmental reasons for the switch, according to statistics cited by Prague City Hall. Other reasons include fun, fitness and health.

“A modern city, one where people live and breathe well, supports all modes of transport, including cycling. The development of the number of cyclists in Prague speaks for itself. Prague’s citizens want to be able to get around the city by bike or to use a bike as a leisure activity,” Prague Deputy Mayor Adam Scheinherr, responsible for transport, said.

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“We are responding to this development and taking into account cycle traffic not only by building separate paths but also by various safety measures in traffic,” he added. New legislation means drivers will have to pass cyclists with a distance of 1.5 meters.

Woman riding a bicycle in Prague. Photo: iStock / olaser
Woman riding a bicycle in Prague. Photo: iStock / olaser

Prague has updated its master plan for developing cycle routes. The most significant changes include the extension of the A4 radial, which connects Chodov with the city center via Pankrác; the A8, connecting Hostavice, Malešice, and Žižkov; and the A7 semi-circular route linking Hlubočepy, Krč, Strašnice, Hrdlořezy, and Hloubětín.

In the future, part of the existing A3 route to the Prague border and A5 to Krč will also be extended.

There are still approximately 20 missing connections to the Central Bohemian Region or between individual city districts and neighborhoods, such as connections in housing developments including Lhotka, Jižní Město, Prosek, Ďáblice, and Řepy, and outside the city center in Řeporyje, Hanspaulka, Hostavice, and the surroundings.

Research has shown that investments into biking infrastructure help to alleviate fears of city cycling. There is still a prevailing sense of concern about riding a bike in traffic, but City Hall claims hesitancy has declined significantly in recent years, especially among regular cyclists.

With more and safer bike routes, the number of regular cyclists would further increase; 59 percent of Prague residents would use a bicycle more often on their regular journeys if existing barriers to safe biking were mitigated, according to City Hall.

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