There’s a very vocal category of people in Prague who hate seeing those Lime Scooters littering the street… and hate those who ride them even more. Well, for those of you in that category who live or work in the area of Prague 1, good news: City Hall has now banned the scooters in pedestrian zones which is another way of saying, pretty much everywhere in Prague 1.
Joining the infamous Segway before them, City Hall says the scooters are a danger to pedestrians and it is for this reason that the ban is taking place.
Residents who own electric scooters will still be able to apply for a permit to use them, and the ban does not currently apply to bicycles, e-bikes, or non-motorized scooters so it’s not a total ban, though it will likely affect the casual rider.
On the city-run website for Prague 1, Councilor David Skála wrote: “We do not see the point in forbidding everything immediately, we always conduct negotiations in which we try to set fair conditions for both sides. We want to do business well in Prague 1, but the business must not bother the locals.”
Mr. Skála also stated that several districts had reached out to Lime, but that the company has been thus far unresponsive. “Lime has not met any of our requirements for safe and reasonable traffic, so we have to take the next step,” he said.
Ondřej Široký, Lime Operations Manager for the City of Prague, has stated that the company already agreed to the requirements of each district and has remotely disabled its scooters in a number of areas via GPS, but this function seems limited to only a few zones within the districts.
The Lime website, meanwhile, espouses the positives of using the electric scooters, stating: “Lime is founded on a simple idea that all communities deserve access to smart, affordable mobility. Through the equitable distribution of shared scooters, bikes and transit vehicles, we aim to reduce dependence on personal automobiles for short distance transportation and leave future generations with a cleaner, healthier planet.”
While that’s all well and good in theory, in practice there are side effects the company seems to overlook: namely, the fact that they do not or cannot control who rents the scooters which means that they are frequently being used by immature riders with little regard for pedestrians (or cars for that matter), those who simply drop their scooter in the middle of the sidewalk when they’re done with their rental, to say nothing of people who become frustrated with the large amounts of the scooters clogging their sidewalks and decided to… break them, leaving the broken scooters splayed out on the sidewalk, clogging trash cans, or worse, in the Vltava.
As an aside, e-scooters are considered the same as bicycles in Prague and are forbidden from being ridden on sidewalks – which is where most people seem to ride them – so if you’re going to use one make sure you are riding on the street or you can face penalties.
New signage specifically limiting the use of e-scooters (for those without a permit) will begin to be posted soon (see image), and it’s likely that other Prague Districts will follow suit. Prague 2, in fact, has already filed a criminal complaint against Lime.
How do you feel about the ban? Would you like to see it enacted in your district? Let us know in the comments.