Czech cycling road code specifics

General rules:

  • The road rules are quite similar to those of our neighboring countries (Germany, Austria, Poland). For example, the same priority rules apply to all vehicles, including bicycles. Unlike in Spain and Portugal, there are no rule differences between cars and bicycles.
  • Pedestrians always have priority at crosswalks. Drivers must yield to pedestrians who are waiting to cross the street, but pedestrians must not begin crossing if an approaching vehicle is too close.

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 illuminate 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 to 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 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 a person older than 15 years old.
  • Children younger than 10 years old are not prosecuted for riding on sidewalks.

Riding Away from Motorized Traffic:

  • Cycling on sidewalks and pedestrian zones is generally NOT allowed unless there is a traffic sign that permits it. In this case, there is a 20 km/h speed limit.
  • You have NO priority at bicycle crossings, except when the crossing is signalized. In Czechia, you must yield before entering 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 using them would cause danger to the cyclist (e.g., uncleared snow on the cycle path) 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 non-compulsory. Non-compulsory use also applies to pedestrian zones and sidewalks where bicycles are allowed.
  • Yellow orientation traffic signs with cycle route numbers do not enable you to ride where it is prohibited. Always check for blue signs indicating cycle paths or white supplementary signs that allow bicycles.
  • On cycleways, you may be required to dismount needlessly (signs saying „cyklisto sesedni z kola“ or „cyklisto veď kolo“). Usually, a careful slow ride will suffice.
  • On pedestrian zones where bicycles are allowed, you are obliged not to endanger pedestrians. On the other hand, pedestrians have to allow you to ride through.
  • There are no speed limits defined on cycle paths, even on shared cycle paths. A 20 km/h speed limit applies to living streets, pedestrian zones, and sidewalks where bicycles are allowed.
  • Note: Inline skaters are allowed to use any part of segregated cycle paths and even dedicated bike lanes.

Riding on Quiet Streets:

  • Riding against the flow of traffic 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:

  • Riding side-by-side is not allowed, even on cycle paths. While it might be tolerated on quiet paths, exercise caution on the road, as many drivers may not tolerate it. They might honk at you or intentionally overtake you closely to signal a mistake.
  • Using bicycle lanes is mandatory (this also applies to mixed bicycle + bus + taxi lanes), but if using them would be unsafe, you can choose to use the regular lane. You are not obligated to use sharrows.
  • In Czechia, you may encounter two types of bicycle lanes. The more spacious type is called dedicated (mandatory in some countries) bicycle lane. There is also a less generous type of cycle lane known as advisory lane, which can be found on narrower streets. For cyclists, the rules for both types of lanes are generally the same. Motorized traffic can enter the advisory cycle lane when there is insufficient space in the regular lane, but the vehicle must not endanger the cyclist.
  • There is a minimum passing distance of 1.5 meters for overtaking cyclists. On calm streets with a maximum speed limit of 30 km/h, the passing distance is reduced to 1.0 meter. Unlike in some other countries, this rule does not apply to cycle lanes (both dedicated and advisory). Passing a cyclist in a cycle lane is not considered an overtaking maneuver according to Czech road code.
  • Cyclists are strictly required to ride on the right side of the lane. The Czech road code does not explicitly address situations where cyclists need to occupy the entire lane for safety reasons (such as avoiding the door zone, navigating roundabouts, or riding in narrow lanes where being overtaken by cars is hazardous). However, taking the lane for safety purposes is practical and generally tolerated as long as it doesn’t significantly hinder other drivers.
  • At intersections, bicycles are allowed to pass traffic on the right side of stationary or slowly moving cars. However, you must always exercise caution to avoid overtaking vehicles that are turning right.
  • When riding in a dedicated bike lane, other drivers can only cross the lane to make turns or exit the road. Cyclists must not be put in danger, even at the end of the lane.
    On the road, certain bike lanes are marked with pictograms (also known as sharrows). These are informative markings indicating the recommended position for cyclists and have no legal significance.
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