Scooters May Meet the Same Fate as Segways. Prague Does Not Want Them in the Center

The Prague 1 district is the most flooded with shared scooters in the entire city, on which tourists also endanger pedestrians on the sidewalks.

The management of the town hall is preparing several steps to regulate their movement in the center. So far, there is a debate about the introduction of zones in frequented places, where the motor of the scooters will be turned off and it will not be possible to continue with them.

“From our point of view, electric scooters are just a tourist attraction that serves drunken alcoholic tourists to organize races. We have many cases where pedestrians have been injured. We take it as someone privatizing public space for their business,” says the mayor of Prague 1, Petr Hejma (STAN).

According to him, the city district is trying to get rid of the scooters in the same way that the municipality succeeded in the case of segways. In 2016, the city adopted their regulation in the conservation area and in other places with a high concentration of pedestrians.

For now, however, the Prague 1 City Hall is trying to agree on certain restrictions with the largest operators of scooters, Lime and Bolt.

“Discarded scooters are especially annoying to the disabled. We have already managed to define corridors for cyclists and we want to introduce the same for scooters as well,” adds the mayor. Prague 1 began to demarcate parking spaces for scooters, especially near pedestrian crossings where there were parking spaces for cars.

Excuses for a close person

Fighting with scooter operators is often futile for town halls.
“When we tried administrative proceedings for unauthorized seizure where there were five to ten scooters at the same time, the operators wrote to us that they did not park them there, that they were only operators and not owners,” explains the councilor for transport in Prague 1 Richard Bureš (ODS). When asked by the town hall who was driving the inappropriately parked scooters, a terse answer came with the justification that it was a person close to them who they cannot name.

According to the councilor for transport, there has already been a slight improvement in the approach of the operators.

“We are negotiating with them to introduce zones where the motor of the scooters will be switched off. When the scooter’s engine is off, it’s almost impossible to ride it, because it’s hard to bounce,” the councilor explains. This system is supposed to work, for example, on the Royal Road, where thousands of tourists move every day.

The town hall also wants to introduce the possibility that the paid rental of the scooter will not be switched off until it is parked in the designated place. This regime is already being tested by Prague 3, which has also designated a number of parking spaces for scooters. Companies Lime and Bolt in Prague 3 also make it impossible for users to park outside designated places.

“Prague 7 will also undergo similar changes, then it will be our turn. I would like there to be compulsory insurance on scooters, because the damage is high,” adds the councilor from Prague 1. However, he does not dare to estimate when the described changes could take place.

The sidewalk is not safe

“Electric scooters and bicycles are being built almost in every street. There are few places and scooters are parked really anywhere – they often lie in the middle of the sidewalk, at the entrance to the crossing. It is difficult to go around them with a stroller, for example,” she states, and she is not the only one in this regard. Dozens more complaints about strollers appear on the social networks of central city districts.

The seriousness of the problems with shared transport is shown by the fact of how many scooters and bicycles are actually involved. Before covid, Lime said it had 1,500 scooters in the capital, and the second largest operator, Bolt, currently has 1,200 scooters and 650 shared bikes.

“So far, we are the only micromobility provider that guides users to use virtual parking points, as opposed to leaving machines anywhere around the city. This means that scooters are collected in some places,” explains Lucie Krahulcová from Bolt. Competitor Lime works on a similar principle.

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