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Prague-Signage

Prague & Czech Cycling Signage

Comprehensive lists of standard road signage are available on Wikipedia and OpenStreetMap. Circuit Rider CZ has a good overview of cycling-specific Czech signage.

[ back to Czech cycling notes ]

Regulatory

The most important regulatory and informational signage to know includes:

Czech Stop Sign Czech Yield Sign Czech No Vehicles Sign Czech No Bikes Sign Czech No Stopping Sign Czech Turn Right Sign
StopYieldNo VehiclesNo BikesNo StoppingTurn Right
Czech Dead End Sign Czech Intersection Sign Czech Main Road Sign Czech Pedestrian Zone Sign Cyclists Dismount Czech Highway Sign
Dead EndIntersectionMain RoadPedestrianCyclistsHighway
   ZoneDismount

In Prague itself the signs can be extremely hard to see, so pay attention to indicators painted on the road itself as well. In particular, white triangles indicate a "Yield." There will be a perpendicular thick white line at the intersection where you're supposed to stop, the same as in America. There are few "Yield" and "Stop" signs around, making the English-language "Stop" sign especially funny when you find one in the middle of nowhere.

Note that the "No Vehicles," "No Bikes," etc., do not have the American standard line through the middle. Frequently a "Dead End" road will actually continue, but will not be paved and may or may not go anywhere. The "Intersection" signs are very important to watch for because they indicate which way the main road goes. In many places out in the countryside it's not necessarily otherwise clear. Caveat other signage, that's the way you should go as well to follow, e.g., a cycling route. The "Main Road" sign is merely informative, noting that your road has priority over the smaller intersecting roads and such.

Directional

Route and directional signage can take a moment to decipher when unfamiliar, but are straightforward afterward. All of them follow the pattern of having the destination names and an arrow in the relevant direction. The numbers in the small side box are the route designation. The numbers next to the names in the larger box are the distance in kilometers to that destination. The route designation is always on the opposite side as the turn and the distances on the same side.

Czech Highway SignAhead to the limited-access highway to Brno and Jihlava.
Czech Highway SignLeft to highway 1 to Brno.
Czech Speedway SignAhead to Kolín (20km) and Kutna Hora (8km) on route 38.
Czech Speedway SignRight to Kolín (25km) and Poděbrady (8km) on route 38.
Czech Local SignRight to Braník and Barrandov on local roads.
Czech Local SignAhead to Slovany on local roads.
Czech Street SignAhead to Nerudova street.
Czech Cycling SignAhead to Nymburk (112km) and Turnov (39km) on cycling route 14.
Czech Cycling SignLeft to Jihlava (52km) and Studnice (3km) on cycling route 16.
Czech Cycling SignLeft to stay on cycling route 3.

There are two overlapping and complementary classification schemes to be aware of: Colors and numbers. The color of directional signage indicates the following:

  • Green: For and to limited-access highways, what would more or less be interstate highways in America
  • Blue: For and to smaller highways and speedways, what would be state or significant county routes in America
  • White: Local directions to town(s)
  • Red: Local directions to a particular street
  • Yellow: Cycling routes

In addition, red or green route numbers indicate major limited-access highways; note that this is specifically the route numbers, different from the red street signs.

Similarly, the numbers also indicate the type of route. For roadways the scheme is straightforward and informative:

  • 1--2 digits: Class I, an interstate, highway, or speedway
  • 3 digits: Class II, significant inter-city road
  • Not numbered: Class II, local or backcountry road

Some routes have an 'E' in front of them, indicating a major Euro-highway. These will also be green on maps and signs.

Czech Highway Sign Czech Highway Sign Czech Highway Sign Czech Highway Sign
Major HighwayE-Road HighwaySpeedwayLocal Route

Cycling signs have a similar numbering scheme:

  • 1 digit: International, very long distance route
  • 2--3 digits: Regional long distance route
  • 4 digits: Local route
Czech Cycling Route Sign

However, cycling route numbers in general mean less in practice than road numbers. There's little correlation between them and the associated riding---paved or dirt; bike path, bike lane, or road; etc.. Some routes around Prague also have an 'A' in front of the number and don't really follow that distance scheme. More positively, in many places cycling routes make small diversions to meet roads that don't quite connect, or split off in complicated ways. These are generally indicated by large, elaborate, awesome signboards such as that to the right.

Recommendations

The following are a few general notes to keep in mind. Take these with a grain of salt and of course use your best judgement.

  • Don't ride on a route that's red or green or begins with an E. These are major interstate highways.
  • Blue single digit highways, e.g. 4 out of Prague, seem ridable early on weekend mornings, but it may not be legal and certainly would not be comfortable in traffic.
  • Blue triple digit highways are very ridable, though some may have substantial traffic during peak hours, e.g., southbound on 102 south of Prague at the end of the day.
  • The cycling routes are awesome and mostly well designed, though many have significant dirt sections. These stretches may be basically unridable on a road bike, so be wary of making long distance plans reliant on them.
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