Category Archives: Press

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.

JI

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

Car thefts in Cyprus on a par with Ireland per capita – Cyprus Mail

The number of car thefts in Cyprus was on a par with Ireland per capita between 2015 and 2017 with 114 vehicles stolen per 100,000 of the population, according to Eurostat figures published on Monday.

On average from 2015 to 2017, the figures were highest in Luxembourg (328 police-recorded car thefts per 100,000 inhabitants), followed by Greece (269) and Italy (257).

There were slightly more thefts in Cyprus and Ireland (both 114) than in Portugal (109) and a little less than in Finland (123).

The lowest figures in the EU were observed in Slovakia and Estonia (both 31), Croatia (20), Romania (15) and Denmark (4) per 100,000.

Police in the EU recorded on average 697,000 car thefts yearly over the period 2015 to 2017, a 29 per cent reduction compared to the period from 2008 to 2010, when the yearly average was 983,000. Between 2008 and 2017, there were downward trends in most EU member states.

Source: Car thefts in Cyprus on a par with Ireland per capita – Cyprus Mail

Lane closures on highway for three weeks – Cyprus Mail

A section of Larnaca highway will be closed for three weeks due to maintenance work on traffic barriers, the public works department announced on Friday.

Works will take place from November 4 to November 22 between 8am to 3pm in 200 metre sections of the motorway.

During the works, traffic will be diverted to the adjacent lane.

For more information www.traffic4cyprus.org.cy

Source: Lane closures on highway for three weeks – Cyprus Mail

Over 100 traffic cameras on the way, police chief says – Cyprus Mail

A total of 110 traffic cameras will be installed on the roads, hopefully by 2020, Police Chief Kypros Michaelides said on Saturday, a day after a shocking traffic violation was publicised online, in the wake of around 35 road deaths this year.

Michaelides was in Paphos for the town’s first-ever ‘Police Day’, said there would be 90 stationary cameras installed, along with another 20 mobile camera units to monitor traffic.

“We hope that with this attempt and with all the work of the Cyprus police, we will be in a place to announce there is an improvement in reducing traffic accidents,” Michaelides said.

Commenting on the nature of accidents on the road in the past year, Michaelides added: “The numbers on crashes, and especially the fatalities, may be way lower than last year but that doesn’t make us feel satisfied.”

Police are pulling out the stops to try and prevent any more deaths in the final two months of the year.

On Friday, a video circulated on social media of a man driving his truck on the Nicosia-Limassol motorway near Maroni with his feet up on the steering wheel.

The suspect, from Limassol, was identified by police on Friday. He was charged and released and will appear in court at a later date.

“It is thoughtless and dangerous driving, and he put in danger other people’s lives,” police said.

In August, police issued a dramatic appeal to politicians to put the necessary measures in place to stem the trend and force Cypriot drivers to comply with the code.

“Despite efforts, co-ordination, planning and anticipation of the possibility of an increase in road collisions, the expected level of prevention was not possible,” police spokesman Christos Andreou said after an emergency meeting of the force’s top brass including police chief Kypros Michaelides, convened after six died on the road in 11 days mid-August.

The government submitted bills introducing stricter penalties in March but for various reasons they have not yet been discussed by parliament.

Included in the bills is an increase in the fines for speeding from €1 per kilometre to €5 while using a phone while driving will fetch a €300 fine instead of the current €85.

Failure to wear a seatbelt will cost €400, also up from €85.

Not wearing crash helmets on motorcycles, running red lights, and parking on pedestrian crossings and spaces reserved for handicapped drivers will cost €200 from €85. 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.

Although Cyprus showed an initial decrease as Michaelides noted for 2019 and preliminary statistic calculations by the EU showed for 2018, the island had the highest increase in road deaths in 2017, according to the Road Safety PIN Report by the EU.

According to the report, the island recorded a 15 per cent increase in 2017, with 53 road deaths, seven more than in 2016.

In 2016, Cyprus had recorded its largest decrease in road deaths, at 19.3 per cent, while in 2015 there was another increase of 26.7 per cent.

Mortality rates are calculated in deaths per million inhabitants, with the report noting that annual deaths in Cyprus, and Estonia, are also relatively small, meaning they may be subject to annual fluctuations.

Due to the increase in 2017, Cyprus is now in 19th place on the scale of 23 countries, while in 2016 the island was in 13th following the decrease.

Source: Over 100 traffic cameras on the way, police chief says – Cyprus Mail

Beware of road works – Cyprus Mail

A section of the Paphos-Limassol motorway will be closed in both directions on October 24 due to maintenance of the roadside lighting, the Public Works Department announced on Thursday.

The works, conducted by the of Electrical and Mechanical Services will take place from 9am to 1pm from the Konion roundabout leading to Aphrodite’s Rock and will include the respective exits.

Traffic will be diverted to a slow lane, the department said.

Meanwhile, Cyta will conduct works in Larnaca during the weekend from 7am to 4 pm, the Public Works Department added.

On Saturday, a 200-500 metre section of Limassol Avenue in Larnaca will be closed from the Charilaou Trikoupi traffic lights to Kastalia traffic lights. Traffic will be directed to the adjacent lane.

On Sunday, a 50-300 metre section of the right lane of the Larnaca-Rizoelia motorway near the airport will be closed in both directions. Traffic will be directed to the left lane.

For more information www.traffic4cyprus.org.cy

Source: Beware of road works – Cyprus Mail

Report: MPs to lower new fines for traffic offences before approving them – In-Cyprus.com

MPs support increased penalties for abandoning the scene of an accident but will whittle down proposed steep increases for traffic offences, Phileleftheros reported on Wednesday.

It said that the House Transport Committee had completed its discussion of seven new bills introducing stiffer penalties for traffic offences such as speeding and using a mobile phone while driving as part of efforts to stem the bloodshed on the road.

According to the newspaper, MPs agree with the principle but have reservations as to the extent of the increase. A final decision on the actual penalties is expected to be taken by each party before the bills go to the plenary for approval later this month or early in November.

MPs have indicated that fines should be proportionate to income levels. They argue that fines of €200 are excessive and are counter-proposing €120 to €150.

Police have long called for tougher fines which they say will work as a deterrent.

Phileleftheros said that MPs agree with a bill to tow away vehicles which obstruct or are parked on bends of main arteries and for these to remain impounded until all the fines and the towing costs are paid.

They also agree with a bill introducing tougher penalties for abandoning the scene of an accident.

A bill which give police the right to impound a vehicle when a driver is found to be drunk or speeding also appears to enjoy the support of MPs.

The reservations focus on a stiff hike in fines for traffic offences such as speeding, not wearing a seat belt or helmet and illegal parking.

The government’s proposal is for fines for failure to wear a seat belt or helmet to rise from €85 to €300 and 3 to 6 penalty points. The same penalties are proposed for using a mobile telephone while driving.

Jumping a red light would be punishable with a fine of €200, up from €85 plus 3 to 6 penalty points, up from 2-4.

Parking in a disabled spot and on pavements will carry a €150 fine, up from the current €85

Source: Report: MPs to lower new fines for traffic offences before approving them – In-Cyprus.com