Štěpán Holub Successfully Defends the Rights of Cyclists before the Supreme Administrative Court

The Supreme Administrative Court decided in favor of cyclists in Prague´s Karlín district, raising the hope that the rights of people using bicycles as a means of transportation will gain greater respect even outside of Prague 8.

Last year, the Prague 8 district in Karlín canceled so-called “Karlín two-way cyclo-routes,” that is, one-way streets for cars where cyclists have the right to ride in both directions. In reaction to this, attorney Štěpán Holub from the Holubová advokáti s.r.o. law firm, representing Auto*Mat, submitted a motion to cancel this change to the rules of Prague 8 to the Municipal Court. The Municipal Court originally rejected this motion. Now, however, the Supreme Administrative Court overruled the rejection of the Municipal Court in Prague and returned it for further proceedings.

Unlike the Municipal Court, the Supreme Administrative Court stated, that a civic association based in the Prague 3 district has the right to file a plaint against general measures taken by the Prague 8 district. The reason for this is that members of this association have interests in Prague 8. Besides this, the Supreme Administrative Court also criticized the Municipal Court for not managing a number of issues raised and calling the decision “unreviewable.” The Municipal Court will thus have to review the issue again.

The Supreme Administrative Court stated that whilst judging the adequacy of a general measure, it is important to also consider its proportionality, its necessity and whether the same effect could be reached with different, less drastic measure.

The court was finally supposed to answer the question of whether the effect of the measure is adequate in relation to its goal, which the Municipal Court failed to do. It was therefore appropriate to consider whether two-way streets for cyclists should be canceled or not. According to the Supreme Administrative Court, the Municipal Court will also have to consider, for example, the meaning of the new “non-existent” signs next to Negrell´s viaduct marking a parking lot with a ticket machine showing a symbol of a crossed-out clock, and whether the proceedings surrounding it should include the position or opinions of cultural landmark preservationists.

The Supreme Administrative Court concluded that the Municipal Court must now thoroughly grapple with these objections against the procedural defects in the contested general measures and their asserted unreviewability. If the Municipal Court does not reverse its stance on these grounds, it will have to consider whether the same effect could not have been reached with less drastic measures, for instance different parking rules which would broaden the roadway in the affected streets etc.

It is to be expected that this decision by the Supreme Administrative Court will have a significant effect on the regulations forbidding cyclists entering the Wenceslas square, the Old Town square, and the Republiky square, which the Prague 1 district passed in mid-April 2018.


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