'A humiliation to the city': Prague court rejects beer bike operators' complaint and upholds ban

Operators of bikes equipped with beer kegs have failed a second time to have the ban on their movement overturned.

Raymond Johnston

Written by Raymond Johnston
Published on 26.07.2021 17:06 (updated on 26.07.2021)

After more than a year and a half, the Supreme Administrative Court (NSS) has ended the dispute over the ban on beer bikes in the streets of Prague, and confirmed the validity of a general measure issued by the Prague City Hall to prevent beer bikes from riding in the city center.

The operators had filed what is called a cassation complaint with the NSS, following a negative ruling in March by the Municipal Court, based on legal guidance from the NSS, which at that time returned the case to the lower court with new instructions.

The cassation complaint asked the NSS to annul measures of a general nature that banned the movement of beer bikes in the wider city center. However, the NSS, which has already ruled against the bike operators, rejected this new complaint as well. The result is that beer bikes cannot move around parts of the metropolis.

“Beer bikes are a humiliation for the city as a whole, and especially for the people who live here. The interests of the alcohol business have not won, and the beer bikes in the center are still just a memory,” Prague Deputy Mayor Adam Scheinherr, responsible for tranport issues, said.

“Any business in the public realm must operate under clearly defined conditions and with the approval of local and district residents. The interests of Prague are our first priority. There is an important lesson from the judgment: persistence pays off and gives further strength to the fight for the quality of life of the locals. Prague should be the home of the people of Prague, not to alcoholism. Tourist seasons will no longer be without drunken shouting on bikes," Scheinherr said.

After more than a year and a half, the case has come to an end and the NSS has confirmed the correctness of all the actions taken by Prague City Hall. The beer bike measures concern a specific areas and roads in the Prague districts of 1, 2, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, and 10.

“The ruling of the Supreme Administrative Court means that the measure of a general nature, which banned the movement of beer bikes in the center of Prague, was issued in accordance with the law. The ban on these bikes is thus definitively valid,” attorney Štěpán Holub of Holubová advokáti, who represented the capital city before the Supreme Administrative Court said.

Should beer bikes be allowed on Prague streets?

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Beer bikes hold over a dozen tourists who peddle along city streets while being served beer from a keg. The person who steers stays sober, to avoid drunken driving laws. Residents have complained that the bikes block traffic and cause noise.

Efforts to ban beer bikes first began in 2018, when they were blocked from Letná Park due to congestion in bike lanes. In February 2020, the city began its efforts to ban then from the large areas of the city center.

Prague has long been trying reduce the negative affects of tourism, and make the city more livable for residents. The city previously banned Segways from the historic center, an effort that also wound up in the courts.

More recently, beggars in large animal costumes, people blowing bubbles and many forms of busking also have been heavily restricted or banned in large parts of the city. Faux historical vehicles have also been the subject of crackdowns. The city has also set rules for signage to stop visual pollution. Advertising rickshaws draped in neon lights have also been banned.

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