Protesters block Prague traffic in bid to reduce speed limit

According to the organization behind the demonstration, a lower speed limit would result in fewer deaths, as well as less air and noise pollution.

Thomas Smith

Written by Thomas Smith Published on 03.03.2023 14:00:00 (updated on 03.03.2023) Reading time: 1 minute

Activist group Last Generation began a protest this morning that blocked traffic on a highway leading to Prague's main train station Hlavní nádraží. Its aim is to reduce Prague’s speed limit to 30 kilometers per hour.

Around a dozen began their protest in Štvanice – the small island on the Vlata river near Holešovice – and walked down two lanes of traffic on the main road leading to Hlavní nádraži. The group was escorted by police officers on foot and in cars.

The demonstrators held banners carrying the message “30 for Prague.” According to the group’s spokesperson, Last Generation is planning similar protests every Wednesday and Friday from now on.

"We want a city for people, not cars.”

- Last Generation

The group organized a similar protest Wednesday this week, walking toward Florenc in Prague 8.

Several benefits of lower speeds

The activists point out that air pollution would substantially reduce with a lower speed limit, which would neatly aid the city government’s current climate pledge to reduce emissions. Noise pollution, too, would lessen.

The speed limit on most sections of Prague’s main highways is currently set at 50 km/h. 

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"Research shows that reducing the speed from 50 to 30 km/h will greatly reduce the risk of pedestrian death or vehicle-cyclist collisions. At a speed of 50 km/h, eight out of 10 pedestrians will die [on average], at a speed of 30 km/h only one out of 10 will,” Jarmila Johnová, founder of the Mothers of Prague organization, said.

Last year, 19 people died in vehicle-related accidents in the capital.

Last Generation is also encouraging Prague to be more bike-friendly with the inclusion of more cycle lanes. A 2022 global ranking placed Prague as one of the most bike-unfriendly cities on the list. 

An Extinction Rebellion protest at the turn of April last year sparked outrage when demonstrators blocked traffic completely by sitting down on roads. 

Praguers can expect further disruption next week. “To be continued next Wednesday,” the group wrote on social media today.

Do you support the demonstrators?

Yes 43 %
No 49 %
I support the principle, but the protest is too disruptive 8 %
390 readers voted on this poll. Voting is open
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