For one thing, many Czechs are wary of using their bikes in the city for fear of theft. But that's not all: what keeps the cyclists off the streets is a bit more complicated than that. Prague councillor for transport Petr Stepanek says one of the reasons could be that Czechs are also simply fond of driving their cars:
"Czechs are still amazed that they can buy expensive cars and some of them behave accordingly. That's something no infrastructure will solve and we have to work on relations between people. We have to work on a road culture that also favours the weaker participants - pedestrians and bicyclists."
"Prague is the most motorized city in Europe at this moment. We were second at the top ten after Rome but I think two years ago we hit the top. There is one car per 1.4 people. Most trips in Prague - 43 % - are made by public transport, 33% by cars, 22% on foot, and 2% on bike."
Councillor Stepanek, himself a big cycling fan, says his council is the first in the history of Prague that had the courage to suggest that they would limit access of city centre by cars. But Michal Krivohlavek is sceptical, arguing that politicians promise a lot but little is actually done on the ground. Meanwhile, he and his colleagues try to push through smaller changes which, however, have a big effect on the every-day life of cyclists. A few years ago, Michal Krivohlavek set up his own project called Ruzove Kolo or Pink Bike. You can attend his workshop and get your bike painted bright, fluorescent pink to make it more visible. I was curious how he got the idea at the first place.
But instead of talking all the time about obstacles to cycling I wanted to hear something more positive. I asked Mr Krivohlavek to give me some reasons why I should prefer my bike to the public transport or cars.
"It's really quick. It's incomparable with other means of transport. If you are in the city centre, you can get everywhere in the city in 20 to 30 minutes. I am not doing any sport because I get regular portion of body movement during the transportation. I think it's a great advantage. Otherwise, 90 % of people in Prague have occupation where they sit all day long and afterwards they are seeking some occasions to move their bodies."Listen to the report:
The European Union is taking aim at manufactures this week with a proposal for tougher controls on toys made in China. The European Parliament will vote on Wednesday to introduce more rigorous checks on imported toys and impose fines on companies that make dangerous products. The move comes after a recall of Chinese-made toys by the US toy giant Mattel this summer because of loose parts and lead content in its products. So will this toy story have a happy ending? Radio Netherlands world wide’s Brussels correspondent Vanessa Mock reports.
In Sweden, all films are subjected to the watchful eyes of one of the world's oldest film censors, Statens Biografbyrå from the National Board of Film Classification which is a governmental body. Now even though a movie hasn't been cut in over a decade, film Director Gunnel Arrbäck is opposed to the agency's censoring activity: Radio Sweden’s Elisavet Sotiriadou has this report
After decades of sectarian conflict in Northern Ireland, republicans and unionists have been sharing power again since May. But many republicans want official recognition of the Irish language in the province. That, they argue, was part of last year’s St Andrew’s Agreement which paved the way for power sharing. As a result, a draft bill to protect and promote Irish has been drawn up but as Eric Heath reports; unionist politicians say they’ll veto it.
The polish government hasn’t endeared itself to other European states this year, upsetting Germany with references to the war many deemed inappropriate. And it seems intent on following that path again now. Less than a month before parliamentary elections in Poland it is still not clear if observers from the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe will be allowed to monitor the campaign and the ballot itself. The OSCE has slammed Poland for refusing to issue an invitation but as we hear in this report from Michal Kubicki of Polish Radio’s External Service the story is not that simple:
From the silent dance of bicycles we go to the silent dance of the body, and to the man who made this form of art known around the globe. The world-famous master of mime Marcel Marceau died on September 22nd at the age of 84. Marceau achieved world fame when he created Bip, his on-stage persona, a sad-faced tragi-comic figure. Bip expressed happiness and hope, solitude and despair. He showed life in all its beauty and fragility. Radio France International’s Christine Pizziol-Griere has this report:
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