The Transport Ministry is preparing new traffic signs for Czech roads, but some of them – like the sign warning of a moveable bridge, for example – will serve no purpose.
The only motorway chapel in the Czech Republic has been visited by nine people since November. The transport ministry introduced a new traffic sign because of the chapel in its regulations. And it is not the only traffic sign that drivers have basically have almost zero probability of encountering. There is no place at all where a sign warning of a moveable bridge could be placed by road workers.
The motorway chapel has been open for drivers since last September. It is situated on the 83rd kilometre of the Prague-Plzeň motorway in the direction to Prague. There is still no traffic sign indicating that the chapel is there; the view of the building is blocked by a transport café and a petrol station. “The entrance to the chapel is very small. Lorry drivers don’t go there at all,” said the staff at the petrol station.
The chapel is not usually open; the key is with the petrol station staff. At the same place people can get the chapel visitors’ book, but its pages are empty.
There are no flowers or pictures in the chapel, which is meant to be a symbolic bridge between Czechs and Germans. “The need to introduce new traffic signs was generally caused by the demand for such signs,” said Transport Ministry spokesman Jakub Ptačinský.
Where to put it?
The transport ministry has prepared another new traffic sign for drivers. It is called “moveable bridge”. It warns drivers that they are crossing a bridge that swings up when boats pass underneath. However, there is no such bridge in the Czech Republic, a similar mechanism can be found only in Moravia. However, that is a moveable footbridge for pedestrians and cyclists at Uherský Ostroh. “There’s no such thing for cars in the Czech Republic,” said Alois Hlušička, the branch director of the state river navigability office (Státní plavební správa).
The transport ministry knows about it and the ministry’s spokesman said the traffic sign is included in the regulation as one such bridge is going to be built on the Vltava river.
Paradoxically, there exist traffic signs in the Czech Republic that have not been entered in the new regulation. One of them can be encountered by the drivers now in spring. There is a frog in a red triangle depicted on the sign. The sign is to warn about the migration of amphibians that cross the road. One of these signs can be found for example in Brdy not far from Dobříš at the Kazatelna hill, and another one is in northern Bohemia at the municipality Milešov. Regional media recently showed drastic pictures of frogs that had been run over.
The ministry is not going to add the traffic sign to the regulation. “The document has been signed and approved. The traffic sign “watch out for frogs” is not in the regulation, and it was not taken into account. For this purpose there is the general traffic sign “beware of animals” that has been in existence for years, the transport ministry’s spokesman said.
Traffic sign for Džamila
Former Minister for Human Rights Džamila Stehlíková can consider one of the new traffic signs her success. Before she was to leave Mirek Topolánek’s cabinet she was enforcing that villages in border areas had signs in Czech as well as in the appropriate foreign language, with both signs in equal size.
She discussed the look of the new traffic sign with the Transport Minister Aleš Řebíček. She argued that if the Czech Republic did not have equally large notices for minorities, it could be reproached for not meeting the conditions of the European Convention on Human Rights.
The villages and towns with more than 10% of inhabitants of different nationality according to the last census are entitled to a second name. They also have to form a committee for national minorities at the municipal hall. There are thirty such villages with two names in the Czech Republic.
The main traffic sign for which especially mayors of villages have been waiting, is the one designating the beginning and end of speed measurement area. Without these traffic signs municipal police is not entitled to measure speed.
An important change in the regulation is that the period when the traffic sign “winter equipment” is in force has been shortened. It is now valid till the end of March, while originally the period was one month longer.
Other new traffic signs, for example warn, of cyclists coming in the opposite direction or of resting places for lorry drivers. Similar traffic signs are common in Germany.