All posts by CyprusDriving

New laws in sight after bad year on roads – Cyprus Mail

A fatal traffic accident earlier this week pushed the number of deaths on the roads to the highest it’s been in two years, but the police traffic chief on Tuesday said it was hoped things would finally improve with the implementation of stiffer penalties in February.

“We know there is a very serious problem regarding fatal accidents on our country’s roads,” Chief of Traffic Police Yiannis Georgiou told the Cyprus Mail. Last year 49 people died on the roads and in 2017, the toll was 53.

The death toll on the roads became the highest in the last two years when 21-year-old Panayiotis Panayiotou became the 51st victim in 2019 on Sunday, taking Cyprus further, rather than nearer it’s target under the EU of less than 30 deaths by 2020.

And with the festive period always a peak time for accidents there are fears this year’s final number will climb in the last days of the year. The inclement weather is not helping Georgiou said.

“The reasons behind the coming days’ possible road accidents might be linked to the bad weather that is affecting Cyprus, rather than drunk driving or speeding.

“The recent storms are another reason why motorists should pay even more attention on the road.”

Despite months of delays, Georgiou said the bill outlining stiffer penalties for road offences, first submitted in March 2019, “should go to the plenum in January and by February the new laws will be implemented and effective on Cyprus’ roads.”

Penalties will be raised for hit and runs, running a red light, parking on pavements and taking parking spots reserved for disabled people in addition to speeding and drink driving.

Police will also introduce vehicle seizures, lower alcohol levels for drivers who had their licence suspended after completing 12 penalty points and enable courts to issue driving bans pending an investigation.

The bill will update penalties relating to speeding and driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, driving without a licence, failure to wear a seatbelt or crash helmet, and using a phone while driving.

Under the new laws, offenders face up to three months in jail or a fine up to €1,500 for driving over the limit with penalties rising according to the alcohol levels.

Reckless driving that ends up causing bodily harm will be punishable with up to three years in jail and or a fine of up to €10,000, whereas anyone involved in a hit and run with a fatality faces up to 10 years in jail and or up to €30,000.

Fines for speeding will increase from €1 per km to €5 and using a phone while driving will fetch a €300 fine instead of the current €85.

Also, a total of 110 traffic cameras will also be installed on the roads by 2020.

“We are running campaigns every month, warning motorists of the dangers of driving under the influence, of speeding and of talking on their phones while at the wheel.

“We are taking these issues very seriously. People need to understand that their lives are at stake while driving,” Georgiou said.

Meanwhile, the Cyprus Youth Council (CYC) has launched a campaign under the slogan #TakeCare, which hopes to spread awareness about road safety.

The main idea behind the campaign is that youth should not just receive the campaign’s message but transmit it as well.

“We are cooperating with police officers and will run a workshop in Paralimni in January 2020 and we are trying to set one up in Larnaca too,” the initiative’s organiser Stelios Marathovouniotis said.

He said though “the problem in Cyprus is a cultural one.”

“Young people speed on the roads to show off their cars. This needs to change, it’s as important as the parliament bills.

“That’s why we want young people to be at the helm of our campaign, we think they will deliver a stronger message.”

Source: New laws in sight after bad year on roads – Cyprus Mail

Transport ministry to introduce customer satisfaction surveys – Cyprus Mail

There will be annual customer satisfaction surveys in all departments of the transport ministry to identify weaknesses, evaluate them and find solutions, Transport Minister Yiannis Karousos announced on Monday.

In a statement, the ministry said serving people is a priority.

“Our goal is through every research to take the right and immediate measures so that we can be sure they have had the result we wanted and have provided the right solutions to the problems which have surfaced,” Karousos said.

The minister was speaking at the presentation of the results of a customer survey of the Cyprus post office services undertaken by the University of Cyprus.

Source: Transport ministry to introduce customer satisfaction surveys – Cyprus Mail

Police fire shots during car chase, arrest woman – Cyprus Mail

Police fired warning shots early on Saturday during a car chase that started in Limassol and ended in Paphos, eventually ending with the arrest of a 40-year-old woman.

Police said the woman was detained at around 1am in connection with possession of drugs and causing a number of traffic collisions.

The woman, who was known to police, had caused several collisions in Limassol before police gave chase, firing shots in the process in a bid to stop her.

She was eventually intercepted at the roundabout near Paphos hospital after she crashed into a patrol car and other vehicles.

A subsequent search of her car found an undisclosed quantity of drugs.


Source: Police fire shots during car chase, arrest woman – Cyprus Mail

General perception of police is positive – Cyprus Mail

OVERALL Cypriots are borderline satisfied with the police despite there being a great deal of room for improvement, a survey has shown.

The survey, polling about 1,000 people across the island, was carried out by the University of Nicosia in association with IMR.

Most respondents (78 per cent) felt very or quite safe, with a small minority said they felt not so safe or unsafe (16 per cent and 6 per cent respectively).

Just under 30 per cent stated they face no safety issue where they live. Problems that did cause people to feel unsafe included thefts, burglaries, noise and dangerous driving.

About 4 to 6 per cent of the public are concerned about drug trafficking, robberies and malicious damage to property.

Just 1 in 100 said they were worried about the most serious forms of crime, such as murder.

Assessing the level of policing, 27 per cent of respondents said it was adequate, another 43 per said found it less than adequate, and 30 per cent entirely inadequate.

General perceptions of the police were relatively good, with the public giving the force an average rating of 2.86 – 5 being the highest possible score.

The police force was also the second highest-rated state institution, coming in just behind the courts, which scored 2.90 out of 5.
Asked whether the police as a force was improving, 47 per cent of those surveyed stated it has improved somewhat or a great deal, 43 per cent felt there has been no change, and 8 per cent thought that it has got worse.

According to the public, the top priorities for the police ought to be: fighting drugs; serious crime (murder, violence); dealing with burglaries, arson; and road safety.

The survey also found that almost one in four people had come into contact with the police in one way or another over the past 12 months.

Most of those who had some business with the police did so by filing a formal complaint (52 per cent), providing a tip (17 per cent), lodging a grievance (13 per cent), seeking information (7 per cent), or to pay a fine (7 per cent).

The majority (67 per cent) of those contacting the police did so by reaching out to a police station.

Of the people who contacted the police, 47 per said they were very or quite satisfied with the experience, 21 per cent not that satisfied, 32 per cent not satisfied at all.


Source: General perception of police is positive – Cyprus Mail

New bill seeks to regulate ambulance providers – Cyprus Mail

A bill regulating the profession of ambulance drivers and rescuers was approved on Wednesday by cabinet.

The bill will now be sent to parliament for discussion and vote.

The aim is to regulate the profession of ambulance drivers and rescuers, as well as the registration of ambulances.

The proposed bill provides for establishing a licensing system for ambulance service providers and ambulances and a mechanism for their control.

It also calls for the establishment of minimum professional qualifications for the staff who will manage and staff the ambulances and setting up the National Emergency Call Centre.

The bill also provides for setting the criteria for the rescuer’s profession and the establishment of a rescuer registry.

Source: New bill seeks to regulate ambulance providers – Cyprus Mail

Petition against Paphos-Polis highway handed in to palace – Cyprus Mail

A petition to prevent the construction of the Paphos to Polis highway that was launched by BirdLife Cyprus was handed in at the presidential palace on Tuesday to be passed on to the president.

The petition garnered around 2,500 signatures and was handed in to deputy minister to the President Vasilis Palmas.

BirdLife Cyprus launched the online petition in September to bring attention to the Ezousa Valley, a protected Natura 2000 site threatened by the construction of the new road. In addition, iconic bird species such as the Bonelli’s Eagle, Long-Legged Buzzard, Peregrine Falcon and the Roller will also be adversely affected, according to BirdLife Cyprus.

Despite the findings of an environmental impact assessment study,the council of ministers declared the road a public interest project and a state tender has been opened for its construction. The deadline is Friday.

Supporters of the petition are calling on the president and the ministers of, agriculture, finance, interior and transport to cancel the decision approving the road as a public interest project, along with the state tender.

Instead, they urge the government to upgrade the existing road.

“BirdLife Cyprus believes that the ministerial decision concerning the Paphos to Polis Chrysochous motorway amounts to a deeply flawed excuse for putting an economically, socially and ecologically damaging ‘development’ above any real public good,” they said.

They believe upgrading the road is a clear alternative, which was not even considered, with ‘past political decisions’ the only pretext for ignoring what is also cheaper option. In addition, they said the project has a hefty price tag, with the first phase (half the highway) costing €70 million alone. This amount does not include the added cost of land expropriation.

The ecological impact of the new 31km road will be hugely detrimental, as it will require at least five bridges and two tunnels and will slice through an untouched landscape of high ecological value. This includes the protected site of Ezousa Valley.

“Iconic bird species such as the Bonelli’s Eagle, the Long-legged Buzzard, the Peregrine Falcon, the European Roller as well as the endemic species of Cyprus Wheatear and Cyprus Warbler will suffer a major blow, mainly due to disturbance and loss of a significant habitat,” Birdlife said.

Source: Petition against Paphos-Polis highway handed in to palace – Cyprus Mail

Police say surveillance technology will make roads safer – Cyprus Mail

Dozens of police cars have already been fitted with new surveillance technology which can draw personal information from a car’s licence plates, while the system is set to be rolled out further, police said on Tuesday.

The system can identify the owner of the car, whether they or the vehicle has been involved in any infractions, if the car is insured and other information.

“There are massive benefits to this. It makes the police more efficient and will also be less troublesome to the public as they won’t be pulled over as often for random stops,” Paphos police spokesman Michalis Ioannou told the Cyprus Mail.

He said that due to the importance of the new technology and its effectiveness its use will be greatly increased and many more officers will be trained to handle it.

The new technology has been in use for about a year. Police in their cars can automatically see on a computer screen all the relevant information about a car and its owner, Ioannou added.

The system is connected to many other databases and can cross reference other data which may be linked to crimes other than just road violations. He explained that this will help solve ongoing crimes.

When asked about the implications for personal privacy, he said that “there are none at all. Any details and information used or obtained stay within the police systems. The public should stay calm and not worry about these issues as none of the data will be given out.”

Cyprus faces serious problems with road safety and traffic violations and the new technology will almost certainly make a significant contribution to help resolve these issues.

However, it is also clear that such a system has the potential to monitor on a mass scale the movement and other sensitive information of people in public spaces. He echoed the popular sentiment that “if you’re not doing anything wrong then you don’t have anything to worry about, we’re only looking out for illegal activity.”

Deputy Head and Spokesman of Traffic Police Haris Evripidou told the Cyprus Mail that “it gives us a much clearer picture of what’s happening out on the roads, what type of crimes are going on.”

Privacy concerns were raised surrounding narcotests which came into force in 2018. When asked about the use of narcotests, Ioannou said that “out of about 500 narcotests carried out in the last year, over 400 hundred returned positive.”

But the positivity rate of 80 per cent should not cause alarm, he said. Tests are targeted at a very small amount of people who are not representative of society at large.

Source: Police say surveillance technology will make roads safer – Cyprus Mail

Improved traffic lights in Nicosia by May 2020 – Cyprus Mail

One hundred and five state-of-the-art traffic lights will be installed across the capital by the Nicosia municipality by May 2020.

The new traffic lights will save energy and due to the consequent reduction in electricity bills will be cheaper to maintain.

Moreover, they will significantly help improve traffic regulation as they will be connected to the SCOOT traffic control system, a network used to maintain safe movement on roads.

The refurbishment project for Nicosia cost €1.5 million.

The Department of Public Works is planning to renew the traffic lights system in Limassol, Paphos, Larnaca and the Famagusta area as well, which will cost €3 million and will be completed by 2022.

Executive engineer of the department of public works Alexis Avgoustis explained that the task of upgrading existing the traffic lights systems “is aimed at improving sustainable mobility, saving electricity and reducing gas emissions.”

Specifically, thanks to the installation of modern Extra Low Voltage (ELV) and LED low-energy signaling systems, the electric consumption will be drastically reduced.

“The new equipment,” Avgoustis said, “will involve significantly lower wiring and maintenance costs, and will be able to work in temperatures ranging from -25C to 60-70C.

“It will also include a system aimed at automatically reducing the intensity of the lights at night.”

The new traffic lights will also help increase safety on the roads.

“The LED lamps that will be installed,” Avgoustis said, “will be far more visible than the conventional ones used at the moment.

“In addition to that, road safety levels are increasing in areas where new traffic lights are placed for all potential users, whether they are car drivers, cyclists, pedestrians or public transport users.”

Finally, the traffic lights will feature a built-in communication system with the central traffic control centre, which will automatically provide instructions for better real-time traffic management. This will mean less intervention by traffic police officers and a significantly reduced cost.

Source: Improved traffic lights in Nicosia by May 2020 – Cyprus Mail

Cypriots have a complete disregard for traffic laws – Cyprus Mail

Although a very drastic measure (renouncing her Cypriot citizenship) I do sympathise with the lady. Especially sensitive as she has been abused and bullied over this.

Unfortunately locals habitually disregard the laws especially the traffic laws. When we visit we always find that cars abuse the traffic light symbols either by going on red or slowly creeping forward on red, parking on pavements, across driveways in between parking bays, you name it.

The parking in the middle of 2 parking bays is so common that my wife has named this whenever we see it as ‘Cypriot parking’ .

Sad but true.


Source: Cypriots have a complete disregard for traffic laws – Cyprus Mail

Police road safety campaign to focus on seat belts – Cyprus Mail

A new nationwide campaign to reduce fatal and serious road accidents starts on Monday and will last for two weeks, until November 24.

Traffic police will concentrate on the use of seat belts and seats for children.

Special attention will be paid to the use of seat belts and children’s seats in the back of vehicles where they are used much less than in front.


Source: Police road safety campaign to focus on seat belts – Cyprus Mail