The end of e-scooters in Prague 1? City councilor calls for referendum

Improper parking, traffic violations, and safety issues have led the district to seriously consider outright banning electric scooters. Staff

Written by Staff Published on 05.09.2023 11:17:00 (updated on 05.09.2023) Reading time: 2 minutes

Prague 1 councilor for transport Vojtěch Ryvola has proposed organizing a local referendum to address the contentious issue of electric scooters available for rent in the city. 

The popular e-scooters, operated by companies such as Bolt and Lime, have become a subject of debate due to concerns over safety and inconvenience. Ryvola intends to present his referendum plan during Tuesday's district council meeting, with the hope of preparing a proposal by the end of September, though specific details remain pending.

Increased scrutiny

The use of electric scooters in Prague, particularly in the city center, has drawn criticism from residents and municipalities. To address these concerns, city police officers have recently increased checks on scooter users during the weekends. This heightened scrutiny comes in the wake of Paris's decision to ban electric scooters following a referendum that took effect on Sept. 1.

Should Prague ban e-scooters in the center of the capital?

Yes 76 %
No 13 %
The should be banned across all Prague 11 %
276 readers voted on this poll. Voting is open

Ryvola has proposed two potential avenues for addressing the issue in Prague. The first option involves conducting a referendum exclusively in Prague 1, which could be initiated by the city district itself. The second option is to negotiate with the city authorities for a city-wide plebiscite. Ryvola emphasized the importance of gauging the opinions of all residents, not solely those active on social media. As of now, neither the proposed referendum's date nor the specific questions to be included have been finalized.

Cooperating with e-scooter firms

Ryvola has been actively collaborating with Prague's scooter operators since September to establish guidelines for scooter parking. He personally conducted nighttime inspections to assess the progress of these efforts and expressed optimism about the initiative's effectiveness.

Regarding recent police checks on scooter users, spokeswoman for the city police Irena Seifertová revealed that during the four-day operation, officers identified 1,336 violations, resulting in 402 fines totaling CZK 191,800. Most violations were reported in Prague 1, with 288 cases, followed by Prague 2, where officers dealt with 126 infractions. Common offenses included riding on sidewalks and disregarding traffic signs.

The presence of freely available electric scooters in Prague and other cities has sparked discontent among local residents and authorities due to issues such as improper parking, obstruction of public spaces, and safety concerns. Negotiations are underway in Prague to establish regulations for e-scooter usage, with Lime's Czech branch operations manager, Václav Petr, expressing optimism about reaching an agreement with the city. Petr also emphasized the importance of investing in adequate infrastructure to address operational challenges.

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