Czech cycling road code specifics

General rules:

  • The road rules are quite similar to our neighboring countries (Germany, Austria, Poland). E.g.: the same priority rules apply to all vehicles, including bikes. There are no rule differences between cars and bikes as there are in Spain and Portugal.
  • Pedestrians always have priority on crosswalks. Drivers have to let them cross the street if they are waiting for it, but pedestrians mustn’t start crossing if the approaching vehicle is too close.

The compulsory equipment on a bicycle in Czechia:

  • Two independent effective brakes
  • Front white and rear red reflectors
  • Yellow reflectors on pedals (can be substituted by reflective clothing)
  • Orange reflectors on wheels (may be substituted by reflective spokes)
  • At night, front and back lights (white and red, they may be blinking or solid) are required. When the road is not lit, you must use a front light strong enough to light it.
  • Bicycle bells are not obligatory but recommended when riding through pedestrian heavy zones.

Rules for riding with children:

  • Bicycle helmets are compulsory for children under 18 years. The rule does not clearly define whether it applies also for children inside baby trailers, on sidewalks (for kids younger than 10 years) or on bicycle-like toys (that are not allowed to be ridden in traffic).
  • Bicycle trailers are allowed up to 90 cm width and they must be equipped with a 30 x 30 cm flag.
  • Children are allowed to cycle (alone) on the street when they are 10 years or older. Younger children can ride on the street only when supervised by person older than 15 years old.
  • Children younger than 10 years old are not being persecuted for riding on sidewalks.

Riding out of motorized traffic:

  • Cycling on sidewalks and pedestrian zones is generally NOT allowed, unless there is a traffic sign that permits it. Then, there is 20 km/h speed limit.
  • You have NO priority on bicycle crossings, except when the crossing is signalized. In Czechia, you have to yield before you enter an unsignalized bicycle crossing. Drivers will occasionally yield for you as they would for pedestrians, so negotiate in such cases and use your best judgment.
  • Using segregated cycle paths is compulsory but if the use would cause any danger to the cyclicst (e.g. uncleared snow on the cyclepath) or people around (e.g. you are a sport cyclist reaching high speeds) you can opt-out and use the road. Shared pedestrian and bicycle paths are considered as non-compulsory. Non-compulsory use is also on pedestrian zones and sidewalks, where bicycles are allowed.
  • Yellow orientation traffic signs with the numbers of cycle routes do not enable you to ride where it is prohibited. Always check for blue signs of cycle paths or white supplementary signs that allow bicycles.
  • On cycleways, you can be requested to dismount – “needlessly” (signs „cyklisto sesedni z kola“ or „cyklisto veď kolo“). Usually, a careful slow ride will do the trick.
  • On pedestrian zones where bicycles are allowed, you are obliged not to endanger pedestrians. On the other side, they have to allow you ride through.
  • There are no speed limits defined on cycle paths, even on shared cycle paths. There is 20 km/h speed limit for living streets, pedestrian zones and sidewalks, where bicycles are allowed.
  • You should be aware that inline skaters are allowed to use any part of segregated cycle paths and even the dedicated bike lanes.

Riding in calm streets:

  • Riding contraflow in one-way streets is prohibited (even in residential streets), unless traffic signs allow it.
  • In living streets the speed limit is 20 km/h.

Riding in motorized traffic:

  • You are not allowed to ride side-by-side, even on cycle paths. Whereas on quiet paths it can be tolerated, be careful on the road as many drivers will not tolerate it at all. They may honk at you or overtake you within a close margin intentionally to show you the mistake.
  • Using bicycle lanes is compulsory (it applies also for mixed bicycle + bus + taxi lanes) but if the use would cause any danger you can opt-out and use the regular lane. You are not obliged to use sharrow corridors (bike lanes marked with a bike and arrows on the right side of a car lane).
  • In Czechia, you can meet two types of bicycle lanes. The more spacious are the so called dedicated (in some countries also mandatory) bicycle lanes. There is also a less generous type of cycle lanes, so called advisory lanes that can appear on more cramped streets. For cyclists, the rules for both types of lanes are basically the same. Motorized traffic can enter the advisory cycle lane when there is not enough space for the vehicle in the regular lane. But the vehicle is not allowed to endanger the cyclist.
  • There is a minimum general margin of 1.5 meter for overtaking cyclists, in calm streets with the maximum speed set to 30 km/h the margin is set to 1.0 meter. In a contrast to some other countries, this does not apply to cycle lanes (both the dedicated and advisory). As passing a cyclist riding in a cycle lane is not seen as an overtaking manoeuvre by the Czech rode code.
  • Cyclists are strictly obliged to ride on the right side of the lane. Czech road code does not consider situations when cyclists need to take the whole lane for safety reasons (like avoiding opening door zone, riding through roundabouts or in narrow lanes where being overtaken by cars is dangerous). However, taking lanes for safety is practical and if it does not hinder drivers too much, it’s generally tolerated.
  • At crossroads, bikes are allowed to overtake traffic on the right side of stopped or slowly moving cars. But you must always be cautious not to overtake vehicles turning right.
  • When riding in the dedicated lane, other drivers can cross the lane only to turn or leave the road. Cyclists cannot be endangered, even at the end of the lane.
  • On the road, some bike corridors are composed with pictograms (also called sharrows). It’s just an informative painting showing recommended position for cyclists, and has no legal value.
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