A growing number of visitors to Prague are using the Segways two-wheelers to get around the city’s historic centre. But their increased presence in pedestrian areas has long been annoying local inhabitants concerned about risks of accidents on the busy sidewalks. Local authorities in central Prague have been calling for legislation that would push Segways onto the roads. However, the Czech Transport Ministry is instead considering officially classifying Segways as pedestrians. I discussed the issue with the ministry’s spokesman Tomáš Neřold.
Ten people were injured on Wednesday in a bus crash shortly before noon in the area of Nový Jičín. A police spokesman confirmed that not far from a local recreation site the bus went off the road and flipped over. One of the injured was trapped inside and had to be freed by an emergency crew. A helicopter was also sent to the scene.
The D1 highway between Prague and Brno had to be closed to traffic in both directions for close to an hour shortly after midnight on Saturday due to a runaway horse. The horse reportedly bolted from a stationary van. The van was transporting two horses and because one of the animals had become increasingly nervous the accompanying vet opened the door to apply a tranquilizer. In the meantime the other horse got away.
Prague’s multi-purpose Opencard scheme which was to provide users with an efficient means of paying for public transport, parking, and serve as a library card has been dogged by problems from the outset. Now it threatens to turn into a nightmare for over one million users. The card’s days are numbered and Prague City Hall has failed to secure continued licencing until a new system is up and running.
The month of May saw the fewest number of road fatalities since 1990: 44. Last year the number was 51. Two hundred and twenty people involved in traffic accidents over the course of the month suffered serious injuries. The 12th and 21st were the worst days of the month, when five people died in accidents both days. There was a 12 day stretch when there were no traffic-related deaths.
The Czech Republic was hit by severe storms on Tuesday, with heavy rain and hail flooding cellars and roads. In Prague fire officers were called out to deal with flooding at around two dozen spots, including the basement of the National Library, the vestibule of Můstek metro station and a theatre. More heavy storms are forecast for Wednesday.
Czech actress Jana Švandová (66) was taken to a hospital for tests on Saturday to determine whether she had suffered a spinal injury after a traffic accident, the news website iDnes reports. Her vehicle and another crashed head-on, according to the daily. The tabloid Blesk reported that the other motorist had failed to respect weather conditions, skidding on the wet road surface. Police confirmed they were investigating. Jana Švandová is known for roles in dozens of films including The Lovers in Year One and The Garden. In the 1990s, she was the first Czech star to pose for Playboy magazine.
The City of Prague has turned down an offer by eMoneyServices to pay 500 million crowns to continue licensing the multi-purpose Opencard. The mayor said earlier the amount demanded was unacceptable; two studies found the price inflated by one-quarter. City Hall will call a tender to select a new card system; meanwhile, the city will start negotiations on the continuation of the current system for an interim period. The selection of a new card system will evidently spell the end of the controversial Opencard, which cost close to 1.2 billion crowns.
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