CyprusDriving

Bill regulating scooters will go to plenum on July 14 | Cyprus Mail

A bill regulating scooters – including a requirement that users be aged over 14 and wear a helmet — will go before the House plenary on July 14, House transport committee president Marinos Moushouttas said on Thursday.

The Dipa MP said the bill seeks to end the absence of rules governing the increasingly popular street vehicles.

The committee also discussed the compulsory use of helmets by cyclists, he said.

The scooter bill that will go before the plenary introduces a speed limit of 20 km, he said. Most scooters don’t go beyond 15km an hour.

Users will be obliged to wear a helmet. Scooters will be permitted on cycle paths and not roads. Local authorities will have the power to issue permits for scooters to be used in squares and on pavements within the community’s or municipality’s limits, as well as on some roads, he added.

“We believe that this regulation will put an end to the uncontrolled use of these vehicles and bring order,” he said.

There will be out-of-court fines for speeding or driving a scooter outside designated areas. These will be issued by police and traffic wardens of local authorities. “Use of scooters will be permitted to people who are over 14,” he added.

Akel MP Yiannakis Gavriel said the primary concern of MPs was road safety, raising awareness and informing the public so that drivers respect scooter users. The ultimate aim is to promote micro-mobility and the use of equipment that is environmentally friendly and contribute to reducing emissions and facilitating urban mobility.

Some of the questions raised at previous meetings had been answered, but it still remained unclear who would be responsible for implementing the legislation, as the representative of the Union of Cypriot Municipalities had told MPs that they cannot, the Akel MP added.

Another outstanding issue was the co-existence of pedestrians and scooter users in common paths, he said.

“As Akel, we have once more stated our intention to cooperate with relevant authorities for the creation of a legal framework that is useful and user-friendly for the public,” he said.

As regards helmets for cyclists, Moushouttas said the proposal was to make them compulsory, subject to a €50 fine for those who fail to comply.

But Greens president Charalambos Theopemptou said his party believed it should only be compulsory for children aged under 14.

“We want the state to recommend to the public to wear a helmet but for this not to be compulsory for all cyclists,” he concluded.

Source: Bill regulating scooters will go to plenum on July 14 | Cyprus Mail

Bill regulating scooters will go to plenum on July 14 | Cyprus Mail Read More »

Scheme for protective equipment for bikers, police step up checks | Cyprus Mail

As police step up traffic checks amid a spike in road fatalities, the transport ministry on Thursday launched its incentive plan for the purchase of protective equipment for motorcyclists.

Applications for the scheme opened at 11.00 am and will close at 12 noon on July 7, 2022. The subsidy amount is €500 or the actual cost of purchase, whichever amount is smaller.

The plan covers the period of 2022 to 2024, with a total budget of €1.050.000.

Beneficiaries of the project are Cypriot, EU and third-country nationals who are permanent residents of Cyprus, are holders of a category A, A1 or A2 licence, and are owners of a registered motorcycle type vehicle.

Meanwhile, police have stepped up checks to prevent fatal and serious road collisions.

Traffic police in Nicosia and Limassol reported a total of 270 violations after checks carried out on Wednesday night to Thursday morning, police said in a statement on Thursday.

And in Limassol, 12 large-capacity motorcycles and a car were confiscated, while a 27-year-old man was found riding a motorcycle without a driver’s licence and insurance. He had a passenger and tested positive for drugs.

The Cyprus Police said its campaign aims to prevent serious and fatal road collisions, as well as to deal with delinquency and nuisance caused by vehicles that have undergone modifications.

This year has seen 20 fatal accidents with 22 victims, marking a 33 per cent increase in collisions and 37.5 per cent increase in deaths over the same time last year.

This has prompted concern, with Transport Minister Yiannis Karousos calling a broad meeting on the issue earlier this week with government departments, labour unions and other relevant stakeholders and organisations.

Applications for protective equipment can only be made electronically through the online platform www.motosafety.gov.cy.

More details on the project’s at www.motosafety.gov.cy or by email at motosafety@mcw.gov.cy .

Source: Scheme for protective equipment for bikers, police step up checks | Cyprus Mail

Scheme for protective equipment for bikers, police step up checks | Cyprus Mail Read More »

Further fuel price hikes expected, currently near €2 a litre | Cyprus Mail

The price of diesel at the pump is a hair’s breadth away from €2 a litre according to the latest price observatory issued by the consumer protection service of the energy ministry, the Cyprus News Agency reported on Tuesday amid projections of further increases ahead.

According to fuel price observatory, diesel prices range from €1.999 to €1,808 a litre, averaging at €1.914.

The price observatory tracks prices at petrol stations across the island, allowing consumers to compare prices for unleaded 95 and 98, diesel, kerosene and heating fuel.

The price of unleaded 95 ranges from €1.867 a litre to €1.755, averaging at €1.806.

There is considerable fluctuation between the various petrol stations, which the head of the petrol stations association Savvas Procopiou attributed to the different period at which petrol stations of different companies are restocked.

“Increases by the companies are not introduced on the same day,” he told the Cyprus News Agency, but noted petrol stations of the same brand should have similar prices.

“If you see differences in prices at petrol stations of the same companies, then there is an issue,” he added.

Moreover, there are petrol stations on the market which may receive different discounts, but petrol station owners rely on the company and cannot sell at lower prices as the discounts offered are very low at some 2.5 per cent, he said.

As regards further increases, Procopiou said it was difficult to make projections as this is dependent on world prices where recent projections have not been confirmed

But speaking on CyBC, association spokesman Christodoulos Christodoulou warned that prices could shoot up further, even surpassing €2.5 a litre if world prices rise.

Cyprus Consumer Association president Marios Droushiotis told CyBC’s Trito that further hikes in prices were expected next week, with the €2 threshold set to be broken in July.

Higher petrol prices and costlier electricity are fuelling inflation and enraging consumers, adding pressure on the government to adopt additional measures – including a price ceiling — to cushion the sharp increase in the cost of living.

Cost of living concerns were discussed in the national council on Monday, with Finance Minister Constantinos Petrides understood to be considering targeted steps to help the most vulnerable.

Source: Further fuel price hikes expected, currently near €2 a litre | Cyprus Mail

Further fuel price hikes expected, currently near €2 a litre | Cyprus Mail Read More »

Cabinet approves facilities on island’s motorways (updated) | Cyprus Mail

Sanitary facilities and recharging stations are set to be available on a 24-hour basis at the island’s motorways, following cabinet approval on Tuesday.

The creation of the facilities will have multiple benefits, Transport Minister Yiannis Karousos said after the cabinet session.

The sites will operate on a 24-hour basis and will include sanitary facilities for men, women and people with disabilities as well as small cafés and kiosks and charging points for electric vehicles. The sanitary facilities will be offered for free to the public.

In this way, Karousos said, the actual needs of the traffic network users will be met, “increasing the overall level of functionality of the public road network and contributing to individual policies of the transport ministry”. These concern road safety, the development of road transport electrification, support for public transport and sustainable development objectives in general, the minister explained.

Furthermore, the facilities are expected to support other state policies in the field of tourism, economic development and the creation of permanent jobs.

A key objective is also to save resources and create synergies through existing or proposed public spaces and infrastructures such as bus and weighing stations.

“The operation of such infrastructure is particularly widespread in most foreign countries where distances are greater,” the transport ministry said later in the day. In Cyprus, the proposal was made following requests from tourism bodies and other organised groups.

To begin with, the facilities will be set up on the Alambra-Nicosia motorway in Alambra, Xylotymbou-Ayia Napa motorway in Xylotymbou, Alambra-Limassol in Kofinou, Limassol-Paphos in Episkopi and Limassol-Paphos in Mandria.

Later, facilities will also be created on the Nicosia-Astromeritis-Evrychou and Paphos-Polis Chrysochou motorways.

Cabinet also approved a bill on income taxation with the aim to expand the existing tax exemption framework to grant tax relief to a legal entity for investment in an approved innovative small and medium enterprise.

The bill is included in the commitments of the National Recovery and Resilience Plan’s Enhanced Research and Innovation section where the aim is to provide tax incentives to attract investment in the research and innovation sector.

Source: Cabinet approves facilities on island’s motorways (updated) | Cyprus Mail

Cabinet approves facilities on island’s motorways (updated) | Cyprus Mail Read More »

Fatal road accidents spike this year | Cyprus Mail

Transport Minister Yiannis Karousos on Monday said his ministry was concerned by this year’s high number of road fatalities, going against the consistently falling rates seen in the past ten years.

He was speaking after leading a broad meeting on fatal traffic collisions with government departments, labour unions and other relevant stakeholders and organisations.

“The reason we called this meeting is simple,” Karousos said. “We are particularly concerned by this year’s high fatal accident rates, which took place despite the fact that according to the data, deadly collisions in Cyprus fell by 36.6 per cent and serious injuries by 55 per cent between 2011 and 2021”.

Deputy police chief Demetris Demetriou said that this year has seen 20 fatal accidents with 22 victims, marking a 33 per cent increase in collisions and 37.5 per cent increase in deaths over the same time last year.

“There has definitely been a surge in the past month,” he added. “More specifically, we have seen eight deaths in the past 16 days, one death every two days”.

Karousos said that at the moment accident rates are similar to those recorded in 2018, which calls for more measures and initiatives.

“Several proposals are pending in parliament with amendments tabled by the transport ministry, covering subjects like changes to driving licences, and additional protective equipment for those whose job requires them to drive a motorcycle”.

“We have also just finished setting up an application enabling the public to note down problems in the traffic system, which will begin its trial run in the next few days”.

From the suggestions discussed during the meeting, Karousos highlighted the ones concerning correct information and the cultivation of road safety mindedness.

Karousos said his ministry will allocate a larger portion of its budget to road safety issues, with the aim of creating information campaigns, as well as scientific studies that will contribute to better decision-making.

The minister said that about 60 per cent of this year’s fatal accidents claimed as their victims foreign tourists or permanent residents of Cyprus from third countries, while five out of the six fatalities involving motorcyclists were without a helmet.

“I appeal to everyone, parents, children, to urge motorcycle users to wear their helmets because they can save lives”.

Meanwhile, Demetriou stressed the importance of wearing a seatbelt, saying that out of the nine drivers who lost their lives on the road this year, six were not wearing a seatbelt. “That’s around 66.33 per cent, making us wonder how in 2022 we still don’t wear seatbelts”.

“The most tragic part is their ages; 20, 22, 23, 32 and 39,” he said. “I can safely say that five of them would still be with us if they had kept their seatbelts on”.

Source: Fatal road accidents spike this year | Cyprus Mail

Fatal road accidents spike this year | Cyprus Mail Read More »

Man in Paphos arrested for illegally altering his motorcycle | Cyprus Mail

Police officers in Paphos arrested a motorcycle driver at 10.30pm on Thursday after discovering he had installed on his vehicle a mechanism to conceal his licence plate.

The man, a 21-year-old, who was also found to be without a valid driving licence and insurance, was stopped for a routine check by the police.

When officers checked his motorcycle, they also discovered the illegal mechanism and took him to the nearest police station for questioning. His vehicle was confiscated and will be subject to further examinations.

The 21-year-old was fined and will also be summoned to court at a later date, yet to be disclosed.

Moreover, police officers handed out a total of 30 fines for traffic violations overnight.

Source: Man in Paphos arrested for illegally altering his motorcycle | Cyprus Mail

Man in Paphos arrested for illegally altering his motorcycle | Cyprus Mail Read More »

Warning to be sent to firm operating traffic cams, Karousos says  | Cyprus Mail

The company operating the traffic cameras system is to receive a warning from the government in the wake of a series of failures that are holding up the full implementation of the system, Transport Minister Yiannis Karousos said on Wednesday.

The president on Wednesday hosted a meeting on the embattled traffic camera system to try and untangle the growing knot as the programme remains mired in its pilot phase.

President Nicos Anastasiades called in all the top stakeholders, ranging from the attorney-general and ministers to the police chief, to try and finally get the sclerotic programme moving.

After the meeting, Karousos told reporters that the company handling the cameras will receive a warning from the government that it must fulfil its agreed obligations.

Karousos said that further meetings between the transport and justice ministries, and the company will hopefully iron out the kinks which are preventing the smooth issuance of the fines.

“I hope that by the end of the month all the issues are resolved, because if they’re not sorted then we will not be able to proceed with the first phase,” he said, adding that the president will chair another meeting before the end of the month.

The pilot phase began in October 2021 with just four stationary cameras active, a period which was initially only set to last for three months. But since then, local media reported that over half of the almost 90,000 violations which have been recorded have not had their subsequent fines sent out.

But Karousos on Wednesday hit back at those figures, stating that confirmed violations currently total 62,752 of which 47,192 have either been sent out or will be issued in the next five days. Specifically, about 38,000 have been sent out, he said, with the remaining 9,200 to be issued within a week.

However, that still leaves a considerable chunk of 15,000 fines which must be handled.

“For these, solutions and instructions have been given to the company on how to deal with them,” he said, adding that a decision will be made by the end of the month as to whether the system can finally exit its pilot phase.

Issues plaguing the camera system are varied, but a major hurdle is that the company is having difficulties issuing fines due a driver’s details appearing in different forms and not matching across the government databases.

Just last month, it was reported that 11,000 fines were deemed invalid by the company, which subsequently asked that they be rescinded.

But Karousos on Wednesday instead stated that those are not in fact fines but are violations which were recorded but did not meet the criteria for a fine.

“Many of those were photographs captured as part of a trial run, before a camera is put in to use it must carry out some tests and many of those 11,000 recordings were such tests,” he said, adding that other recordings concerned ambulances, scooters, and bicycles.

He said that some recordings were of vehicles without licence plates and as such they cannot be fined.

Karousos had previously told daily Phileleftheros that the reasons given by the company are that there were issues with visibility in the photographs of the 11,000 recordings. It said that key details such as the vehicle’s registration plate not being clear.

Karousos was also quoted as saying that the company managing the cameras has so far not received any payments due to the ongoing issues.

Those involved with the camera system say it is impossible to progress into the first phase, which sets out for a further 20 stationary units, as the system is already overwhelmed with just four.

Source: Warning to be sent to firm operating traffic cams, Karousos says  | Cyprus Mail

Warning to be sent to firm operating traffic cams, Karousos says  | Cyprus Mail Read More »

Transport minister pledges road safety overhaul | Cyprus Mail

Cyprus’ drive to reduce annual road fatalities to zero will see a near total overhaul of the rules and regulations which are currently enforced, according to statements made on Wednesday by Transport Minister Yiannis Karousos.

In outlining the goals of the ministry’s ‘Vision Zero’ policy – zero road deaths – Karousos praised the progress made over the past three decades in reducing fatalities, but lamented that Cyprus appears to now be stuck at about 50 road deaths per year.

“After the initial decrease from 130 road deaths in 1990 to 60 in 2005, between 2010 to 2021 the reduction was limited to about 50 road deaths per year,” he said, but adding that injuries in the past decade fell by 76 per cent.

He also stressed the difficulty and importance of further reductions since most people use cars as their mode of transport.

The policies which aim to achieve an ambitious total elimination of road fatalities range from the speed limit being set at 30km/h in urban centres and residential neighbourhoods, to significantly tightening the rules for motorcyclists’ licences and overhauling the protocols for driving instructors and examiners.

In January, cabinet approved the ministry’s proposal which would restrict the scope and use of learner motorcyclist licenses. It must still pass through parliament, where it is facing opposition.

Another key tool to achieve zero road deaths is the traffic camera system, Karousos said, as he expressed the hope that the first phase of the programme will be completed this summer – as it is still stuck in its pilot phase.

Elsewhere, efforts will be made to regulate driving instructors so that they must undergo lifelong training themselves, means to grade and evaluate their performance and categorising the schools and instructors according to their qualifications, experience and classes on offer.

The minister, who was speaking at a conference organised by Roadpol, also said that further expansion of cycling lanes and pavements are also important way to ensure road safety.

Highlighting the starkly unequal dangers faced by some on the road, Karousos emphasised that 28 per cent of fatalities are those aged up until 25, 70 per cent of deaths occur on urban roads while nearly 70 per cent of those deaths are of pedestrians, cyclists and motorcyclists.

Fatalities amongst motorcyclists are proportionally 14 times higher than those driving other vehicles such as cars, he said.

Karousos said that the current aim for the ministry is to reduce serious injuries and road fatalities by 50 per cent by 2030.

Source: Transport minister pledges road safety overhaul | Cyprus Mail

Transport minister pledges road safety overhaul | Cyprus Mail Read More »

Police clamp down on drunk driving, speeding in Paphos | Cyprus Mail

A total of 220 drivers were booked in a coordinated operation by Paphos police over the last three days.

According to the police spokesperson, Michalis Nikolaou, three drivers were found driving under the influence of drugs, 36 drivers were fined for driving under the influence of alcohol, and 100 for exceeding speed limits. The remainder were fined for various other traffic offenses.

The operation for the prevention of traffic violations covered Paphos city as well as the surrounding countryside and villages.

Nikolaou said that the coordinated operations will be ongoing at a later stage.

Source: Police clamp down on drunk driving, speeding in Paphos | Cyprus Mail

Police clamp down on drunk driving, speeding in Paphos | Cyprus Mail Read More »

Another luxury car scam uncovered at transport ministry | Cyprus Mail

Yet another scam has been uncovered at the transport ministry, again involving imported luxury cars, but this time centred on dodging thousands in tax via prolonged use of test-driving plates.

Some owners of supercars and luxury, behemoth SUVs worth over €100,000 are driving for up to five years – in some cases – with test plates which, by law, are not permitted for more than 15 days.

As such, the cars are unregistered, the owners have not paid the required taxes, but the vehicles continue to be driven on the roads regardless.

The audit office and an official at the transport ministry recently carried out checks at car dealerships and found that systematic, illegal use of test plates is ongoing.

They uncovered that some car dealers, their family members and employees at the companies never register their vehicles and permanently use test plates instead.

It was also discovered that car dealers hand out test plates to customers – at a cost of €200 – who in turn dodge thousands in tax due to the state, presumably offering kickbacks to the car salesmen.

The investigation further found that test plates were declared to be at multiple different locations simultaneously, while other plates which were rescinded by the ministry were still in use. Further still, test plates from a single set were found to be in use by multiple cars, which in turn only wore a single plate. It was also discovered that car dealers were handing out test plates to members of the public who imported their own cars and used them illegally for months.

Transport Minister Yiannis Karousos confirmed that abuse of the test plate system was occurring, telling daily Politis – which first reported on the issue – that measures are being taken to address the issue.

One such measure is to only allocate dealerships with test plates according to their volume of work.

Police in the past have carried out island wide checks in an attempt to address the scam, issuing fines, but those efforts evidently failed in light of the ongoing fraud.

According to the law, those found to be abusing the test plates system face up to a year in prison, €5,000 in fines, or both. Car dealers defrauding the system face up to €1,700 in fines, up to a year in prison, or both – with further potential sanctions.

Cyprus is no stranger to car-scams, as an explosive case emerged within the last year which has so far led to four arrests.

That case centred on a second-hand car scam which involved officials at the transport department allegedly doctoring documents to pass off damaged luxury cars as new.

The case also led to the senior transport department employee who tipped off police about the scam being targeted by arsonists who allegedly tried to silence him by destroying two cars parked at his house.

The charges being investigated include abuse of power, issuance of false documents by civil servants, forgery, neglect of official duty, among others, while further arrests are expected, the police said.

Source: Another luxury car scam uncovered at transport ministry | Cyprus Mail

Another luxury car scam uncovered at transport ministry | Cyprus Mail Read More »