TALA COMMUNITY NEWS: CHANGES AFOOT RE LICENSING, PARTICULARLY FOR THOSE WHO RIDE A MOTORCYCLE

Filenews 12 September 2020 – by Vasos Vassiliou

Thousands of applicants to obtain a normal vehicle saloon driving licence will have to go through ten compulsory driving lessons, while applicants to obtain a normal motorcycle driving licence will have to pass up to 17 courses paying hundreds of euros each. Approximately 25,000 student licences are issued each year for all types of vehicles.

Those who ride a motorcycle, even for 40-50 years, will be surprised, since at some stage the student driving licence will cease to be valid and will be replaced by a normal licence, after the candidates pass practical courses of an approved driving school. Many of the drivers have never been in the process of securing a normal motorcycle driving licence, which they will be obliged to do in the future.

The issue of compulsory courses was discussed yesterday before the parliamentary Transport Committee and the Deputy Director of the Department of Road Transport, Giannis Nikolaidis, said that the issue was discussed with the associations of driving schools involved and common positions emerged which are reflected in the bill under discussion.

Referring to category B, i.e. the category in which saloon vehicles are classified, Mr Nikolaidis said that instead of five courses that were the original intention, after consultation they increased to ten. When someone is rejected in the examination that will be submitted, they will be required to attend another five courses.

With regard to motorcycles, Mr Nikolaidis said that compulsory training (lessons) would be introduced, which currently applies only to large-scale motorcycles over 600cc (A3). There are no courses for motorcycles in the category of 125cc or even in the category up to 400cc, said Mr Nikolaidis who clarified that interested parties must first obtain a 125cc licence, then a licence with which they can ride a 400cc motorcycle and finally a licence without a cubic restriction.

Special reference was made to delivery men who drive on a student licence, which is considered dangerous. There was a feeling in the bystander position that someone who has been driving on a student licence even for several years doesn’t know how to drive, so he has to go through classes.

It is noted that every year the state collects hundreds of thousands of euros from the issue and/or renewal of marketing authorisations. Many of the drivers because they do not intend to switch to a higher category have never attempted to obtain a normal licence, since they did not need them.

Source: TALA COMMUNITY NEWS: CHANGES AFOOT RE LICENSING, PARTICULARLY FOR THOSE WHO RIDE A MOTORCYCLE

Police launching two-week clampdown on driver distraction | Cyprus Mail

Police said on Sunday they would be launching a two-week road safety campaign focused on clamping down on motorists using mobile phones or engaged in other activities such as eating while driving.

The two-week campaign starts Monday and is due to end on Sunday, September 27.

“Using a mobile phone and other objects while driving distracts drivers,” a police statement said.

It said driver distraction was one of the biggest factors that increases the likelihood of being involved in a traffic collision as it reduces a driver’s reaction time in the event of an accident.

Source: Police launching two-week clampdown on driver distraction | Cyprus Mail

Traffic cameras in 2021 part of measures to halve road deaths | Cyprus Mail

Traffic cameras by early next year, increased narco-tests and harsher penalties for driving offences are just some of the measures being introduced with the aim of reducing road deaths by 50 per cent.

Transport Minister Yiannis Karousos chaired a road safety council meeting on Wednesday, attended by Justice Minister Emily Yiolitis, and set out the plan for the period 2021-2030.

The central focus includes traffic cameras and a general review of the current traffic laws.

Traffic cameras are seen as a key tool in reducing yearly road fatalities. Karousos said that evaluation of the tenders for the cameras will be completed by the end of September.

Karousos set the timeframe for the installation of traffic cameras to begin in the first two months of 2021 – provided there are no appeals during the tenders’ process.

Appeals are notorious for holding up public works projects for years, with one of the latest being the fallout of contracts awarded to bus companies.

Noting the severity of the situation on the roads, Karousos said that last year there were 52 road deaths.

“Each such deaths from traffic accidents costs the economy of our country about 3 million euros… [last year] the cost to the economy exceeded 150 million euros,” Karousos said.

But traffic cameras have an embattled history, with currently only two in operation throughout the entirety of the Republic.

Those two cameras alone have their work cut out, as they clocked over 87,500 traffic violations in five years from the period of 2014 to 2019.

A system of traffic cameras operated elsewhere for around 10 months from November 2006 until August 2007, but these were removed after disagreements with the supplier, and since then there have been several botched tenders’ procedures.

During those 10 months, 16 fixed traffic cameras and seven mobile ones recorded around 165,000 violations, though the real number was in fact much higher as for various reasons the system was unable to process roughly 30 per cent of violations.

The transport ministry in 2019 set a target of having 90 fixed cameras in place by 2022 with a further 20 mobile units in use.

While the announcement was thin on specifics, Yiolitis said that: “Some of the actions that will be carried out are the doubling of narcotics tests and the better policing by the traffic police of the municipalities.”

Another prong against troublesome drivers will come into effect on October 1, as traffic violations are set to be punished with greater severity.

Deputies voted in July for an overhaul to reckless driving penalties which, in general, sees the doubling of fines for repeat offences committed within two to three years.

The focus for many has been reckless driving but it appears the government has also set its sights on the lax adherence to parking rules by Cypriot drivers.

The minister said that there will be “zero tolerance for illegal parking”.

It is unclear how such a policy will be enforced, as throughout the island pedestrians are plagued by pavements clogged up with illegally parked cars. In a number of photos to have gone viral online, police cars were also apparently parked illegally.

In September 2019, a wheelchair user was forced onto the road and killed in a car accident because cars were parked on the pavement.

Cyprus is amongst the EU countries with the least safe roads, according to figures released in July by the European Automobile Manufacturers Association (ACEA).

While Sweden has the safest roads, with 25 road deaths per million people, the UK is second with 28 and Cyprus is ranked at number 20 with 62. Romania, however, has the worst record, with 99 fatalities per million inhabitants.

Source: Traffic cameras in 2021 part of measures to halve road deaths | Cyprus Mail

Vehicle registrations down by 20.3% January to August | Cyprus Mail

Total registrations of motor vehicles in August edged down an annual 1% to total 3217. Passenger saloon cars recorded a bigger annual drop of 2.8% to 2,560 the Cyprus statistical service said on Tuesday.

Overall, for the period January-August the total registrations of motor vehicles plummeted 20.3% to 24,969 from 31,336 in the same period the previous year.

Passenger saloon cars slumped to 19,423 from 25,450, recording a fall of 23.7%. Of the total passenger saloon cars, 6.822 or 35.1% were new and 12,601 or 64,9% were used cars.

Goods conveyance vehicles fell by 17.7% to 2,988 from 3,632 in January-August 2019. In particular, light goods vehicles decreased by 19.0% to 2.523, heavy goods vehicles by 8.0% to 357 and road tractors (units of trailers) by 16.3% to 108.

Mopeds (up to 50cc) were down by 32.6% to 128 from 190 in the corresponding period of the previous year while motorbikes of more than 50cc increased to 1932 in January-August 2020, compared to 1654 in the same period in 2019, recording an increase of 16.8%.

Source: Vehicle registrations down by 20.3% January to August | Cyprus Mail