Over 40% of motorcyclists who died on roads did not wear helmets | Cyprus Mail

Over 40 per cent of motorcyclists and moped drivers killed on the road in Cyprus in 2021 were not wearing a helmet, a European Transport Safety Council (ETSC) report showed on Wednesday.
At 43 per cent, Cyprus had the second highest rate among the 12 countries that provided data.
However, in Cyprus road deaths of all categories fell by 17 per cent from 2011 (17 deaths) to 2021 (14 deaths).
Among other recommendations, the report calls for an improvement in the enforcement of helmet-wearing, especially in countries where there are low levels of people doing so, such as Greece and Cyprus.
It also recommended the EU and national governments also promote the safety performance of helmets and other protective equipment such as airbag jackets.
The 44th report PIN Flash Report presents the data in the 27 member states of the European Union as well as in Switzerland, Israel, Norway, Serbia and the United Kingdom, regarding the road deaths of motorcyclists and mopeds.
Over the last decade, the report said the number of road deaths of motorcyclists and mopeds in the EU has decreased by 25 per cent, from 5,216 deaths in 2011 to 3,891 in 2021. The majority of those killed were motorcyclists.
The number of all other road deaths fell by 33 per cent over the same period.
Motorcycle user deaths are dropping at a slower rate than moped and other road deaths. Over the past ten years, according to the report, the number of motorcyclist deaths decreased by an average of six per cent per year in the EU24, from 983 in 2011 to 526 in 2021. In Cyprus, it said, the numbers were too small to be statistically significant (three in 2011 and two in 2021).
The report found that 3,891 people died while riding a motorcycle or moped in the EU in 2021, around 90 per cent of whom were men.
Use of a motorcycle helmet is mandatory in all EU countries and, overall, compliance rates are high.
The report also recommended that national governments develop better enforcement of speed limits applying to motorcyclists.
Manager of ETSC’s Road Safety Performance Index programme Jenny Carson said that in recent years motorcyclists have been less of a focus in road safety, adding that “there are several smart and straightforward measures that can be taken to reduce the unacceptable number of deaths every year.”
“We also need to pay close attention to growing trends such as the number of young people, mostly men, now delivering hot food in our cities on motorcycles, working under time pressure on poorly maintained vehicles, while being distracted by app-based tools,” he concluded.

Source: Over 40% of motorcyclists who died on roads did not wear helmets | Cyprus Mail

Law giving transport minister extensive powers must be enacted this year | Cyprus Mail

A law giving the transport minister sweeping powers – such as designating low or zero-emission urban areas and barring certain vehicles from using them – must be passed by year’s end, an official told MPs on Thursday.

Acting permanent secretary of the transport ministry, Yiannis Nicolaides, told legislators that the legislation – which got a first reading in parliament – is among a series of laws Cyprus must enact as part of the European Union’s ‘Fit for 55’ scheme.

It’s part of the legal framework for achieving binding targets relating to sustainable urban mobility.

The reform in question is included in the national Recovery and Resilience plan and should be approved by the end of the year.

By 2030 Cyprus has undertaken the obligation to cut greenhouse gas emissions by 32 per cent, Nicolaides recalled. Road transport accounts for approximately 50 per cent of such emissions, translating into two million tonnes a year.

The ‘Law setting special measures for reducing atmospheric pollution and greenhouse gas emissions in road transport’ will give the transport minister the power to issue decrees – published in the government gazette – designating specific days and times of day for the transit of vehicles running on conventional fuels (petrol and diesel) within low or zero-emission areas or streets.

The minister can also identify a section, or even a lane, of a road which certain categories of vehicles will be prohibited from using. Further, the minister will assign areas or streets which certain vehicles can use, but only upon payment of a fee to the local authority.

The law speaks of ‘superintendents’ – to be appointed by the transport minister – who will check if vehicles carry a pollution certificate in low or zero-emission areas.

But Nicolaides said pollution checks could also be carried out by infrared cameras. Such cameras generate images of emissions from a vehicle’s exhaust.

Lawmakers expressed reservations, pointing out that a great deal many people won’t be able to comply. They called for an incentives scheme for the purchase of low-emissions vehicles, and asked whether a transitional period would apply once the law has been enacted.

Nicolaides referred MPs to current available schemes for replacing old vehicles. Regarding implementation, he said that the law must be enacted by the end of 2023, although the measures will start being applied as of 2025.

Under the law, in low or zero-emission areas no vehicle can exceed speeds of 25km/hour.

Any person violating the decrees in force at any given time will have committed a criminal offence and will be liable, in the event of conviction, to jail time of up to two years and/or a fine up to €10,000.

Anyone assigning another person to drive a vehicle in a controlled area or street in violation of the decrees, will likewise be liable to the same penalties.

In addition, any person who obstructs or prevents a superintendent or police officer from carrying out their duties, or who does not follow their instructions, is liable to jail time of up to one year and/or a fine not exceeding €5,000.

On-the-spot fines may be issued.

The text of the legislation states that the police, the armed forces, civil defence, the fire department and ambulances will be exempt from the provisions of the ministerial decrees.

Source: Law giving transport minister extensive powers must be enacted this year | Cyprus Mail

35,000 traffic camera fines unpaid | Cyprus Mail

The state appears to be in no rush to set up and launch more traffic cameras as 35,000 fines remain unpaid.

Tuesday marked another missed milestone in the timeline according to the contract signed by the company and the state.

It is understood that work is underway for another six traffic cameras – four in Nicosia and two in Limassol – but only two of them are ready to operate. Notably, 16 mobile unit cameras have arrived but not been deployed yet.

Of the 86,350 fines sent out by cameras so far about 40 per cent have not been paid and will therefore end up in court.

There are fears that those 35,000 cases along with the unpaid fines from covid will further clog up the courts. The racked-up fines are the result of just eight operational cameras.

The pilot phase began on October 25, 2021 and was only set to last for three months – with the first phase after that itself only set for six months with the addition of a further 16 mobile units and 20 stationary units.

The second phase was originally set to be completed within a year of the first phase and envisaged a further 66 stationary units.

The transport ministry said back in August that another 20 stationary cameras were to be installed within six months.

As for the covid fines, the Cyprus Mail previously reported in June that between March 28, 2020 and May 31, 2022 a total of 44,344 out of court fines were issued and only 17, 466 – corresponding to 39.4 per cent – have been paid. Another 26,828 fines (60.5 per cent) remain unpaid.

Source: 35,000 traffic camera fines unpaid | Cyprus Mail

Helmet wearing mandatory for cyclists | Cyprus Mail

Cyclists now face a €50 spot fine for not wearing a helmet but this can rise to €500 if the issue ends up in court.

The police and supporters of the law now being enforced say it will make cycling safer, but critics say it unfairly blames and restricts those using alternative transport.

Jason Senekkis, research assistant at the European University Cyprus, told the Cyprus Mail that the law now means cyclists on paths in parks such as the Grammiko in the capital will be fined for not wearing a helmet.

But police arguing in favour of the law point to the four cyclists and one e-scooter user who died last year, none of whom were wearing helmets.

Senekkis, however, emphasised that four of those incidents saw cars crash into the cyclists with incredible force, while another had fallen from a six-metre height.

Some also argue that placing restrictions on cyclists will further dissuade people from using alternative means of transport to cars.

The regulation further stipulates that not just any helmet will do, as it must comply with the CYS EN 078:2012+A1 standard, explicitly state that it is intended at least for cyclists and be marked with a Declaration of Conformity: CE.

Elsewhere, stricter rules have been enforced for e-scooters, as only those aged 14 and older are allowed to ride them and if it allows for another passenger, the second individual should be above the age of 12.

There is a mandatory requirement to use a helmet as well as clothing with fluorescent indicators. At the very least, the e-scooter should have brakes, lights at the back and front, as well as a bell, the transport ministry said.

Additionally, the maximum speed should be at 20km/h. When riding in a square or pavement, the speed should not go higher than 10km/h. Priority should always be giving to pedestrians.

Use of an e-scooter in a square or pedestrian area is only permitted if there is an indicative horizontal or vertical signpost, the transport ministry specified.

Source: Helmet wearing mandatory for cyclists | Cyprus Mail

Protective equipment grant scheme for 2023 announced | Cyprus Mail

The Road Transport Department (TOM) on Wednesday announced the launch of another grant scheme for the purchase of protective motorcycle airbag vests, after its success in 2022.

Those interested can apply for the scheme until March 1 at www.motosafety.gov.cy. The grant will cover a maximum of €500.

TOM also announced that its intention is to run the scheme for 2023 as well. In 2022, more than 1,700 people applied to it to acquire motorcycle airbag vests.

Aside from Cypriot nationals, EU-citizenship holders and third-country nationals with a valid permanent residence permit will also be able to apply to the scheme, provided they are holders of an A, A1 or A2 driving licence, are registered with TOM and have a motorcycle registered in their name.

To apply, people will have to provide their ID, date of birth, vehicle registration number, mobile phone number and email address.

The announcement also added that in case interest is greater than the predetermined number of applications, an electronic lottery will be conducted, and applicants will be notified of preliminary approval via email or text message.

Applicants who receive preliminary approval will be given a period of one month to submit all the supporting documentation for the purchase of the vest, as well as bank details for the transfer of the grant.

Applicants who secure preliminary approval but do not make a purchase or submit the necessary information and supporting documents within the specified timeframes will not receive the grant.

Finally, applicants who already received the grant in 2022 will not be allowed to apply again.

Source: Protective equipment grant scheme for 2023 announced | Cyprus Mail

Cabinet approves bill opening way for zero-emissions zones | Cyprus Mail

The cabinet on Thursday approved a bill which, among others, would grant the transport minister far-reaching powers, including designating roads or areas barred to vehicles running on conventional fuels, part of a stated drive to cut down on greenhouse gas emissions.

Drafted by the transport ministry, the bill is titled ‘Designating special measures to reduce atmospheric pollutants and greenhouse gas deriving from road transit.”

According to a statement, road transport in Cyprus “is responsible for about 50 per cent of greenhouse gas emissions (mostly CO2) in relation to activities not included in the ETS (Emissions Trading System).

“This translates to approximately two million tonnes a year.”

The statement added that the measures to be taken “will help achieve the goals of the ‘National Governance System for the Climate and Energy’ as well as the ‘National Action Plan for the Improvement of Quality of Air in Cyprus’.

“This relates to atmospheric gas emissions, in the framework of the obligations arising from the ‘European Green Deal’ and the package of legislation known as ‘Fit for 55’.”

The bill is a “reform” undertaken to be implemented by the transport ministry, within the framework of the national Recovery and Resilience plan (also known as ‘Cyprus Tomorrow’). To this end, the statement read, two subsidy schemes have already been approved – a scheme subsidising the purchase of electric cars, and another for the withdrawal from circulation of polluting vehicles.

“With these incentives, the granting of positive incentives for reducing [greenhouse gas] emissions from road transport is already underway.”

Once the law is enacted, the transport minister, following consultation with a local authority (municipality) will be able to specify measures, such as: designate areas/roads of low or zero emissions; prohibiting, in certain areas or on roads, or on certain days and times, the circulation of polluting vehicles; and designate a date beyond which the registration of polluting vehicles, for example cars running on diesel, will not be permitted.

Other powers granted to the transport minister will include designating bus lanes, or designating transport-related activities to be carried out exclusively with electric vehicles – for instance item deliveries.

The minister will also set out requirements, via advertisements or other promotional means, relating to vehicles using conventional fuel, as well as “the dissemination of messages promoting alternative means of transit such as walking, cycling and the use of public transit.”

In addition, under the same law, regulation will be issued specifying the violations recorded by traffic cameras and the procedure for out-of-court fines.

Residents of Nicosia have already got a taste of such policies, with the section of Makarios Avenue – from the Landmark Nicosia (formerly the Hilton hotel) to the traffic lights at the Lycavitos police station – open only to one-way traffic.

Last October the lower section of the avenue opened as a ‘shared space’ for pedestrians and authorised vehicles such as buses, taxis and delivery vehicles, in what the municipality hopes will lead to more environmentally friendly use of the road.

The plan is to create emissions-free areas in the capital.

During a discussion in parliament in November, affected shopkeepers complained about the decline in business, urging authorities to rethink the system.

Bureaucrats from the transport ministry responded that the one-way system implemented on that section of the avenue was a commitment made to the European Union, which financed the ‘sustainable mobility’ project. Additionally, every three months Cypriot authorities must report to the EU carbon dioxide measurements taken in the area.

Source: Cabinet approves bill opening way for zero-emissions zones | Cyprus Mail

Roads to Troodos only open to four wheel drives, cars with chains | Cyprus Mail

All roads towards Troodos are now restricted and only open to cars with four-wheel drive or snow chains, the police announced on Friday.

The police cited ice on the roads as the cause for caution.

They emphasised that the public must remain up to date due to the constantly changing weather.

Source: Roads to Troodos only open to four wheel drives, cars with chains | Cyprus Mail

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Electric vehicle subsidy scheme receives over 500 applications in five hours | Cyprus Mail

Over 500 applications were made in just five hours for the second phase of the electric vehicle subsidy programme.

Applicants rushed to www.ev.gov.cy on Monday at 11am when the new programme launched, although anyone who is interested has until March 9 to register – as no priority is given based on when the application was submitted. The transport minister said last month that should there be more applications than grants available then these will be decided through a draw.

A priority system in place for hybrid vehicles based on the age of their current car which is to be turned in.

The second phase has a budget of €10m and aims to offer 2,518 grants. It follows on from last year as the programme was deemed a success after 7,000 applications were submitted and nearly 100 per cent have completed the process of obtaining their electric vehicle.

The scheme offers grants to purchase electric and plug-in hybrid cars with CO2 emissions up to 50g/km, at a cost of €80,000 including VAT for new cars and €50,000 including VAT for used cars.

Motorcycles and small cars that fall under the ‘L’ category, as well as e-bikes and buses are included in the scheme. The ministry specified scooters are not included.

A significant sum of the funding comes from the EU as part of the Cyprus-Tomorrow plan.

The scheme also includes the possibility to scrap an old vehicle in exchange for a grant that can go towards buying an electric vehicle or, depending on the category, bus tickets or grants for buying an e-bike.

The grants start at €10,000 for electric vehicles while the funding for scrapping old vehicles amounts to €7,500.

Additionally, those interested in purchasing an electric vehicle will have to submit a confirmation letter from a seller that they have been informed of the price.

Source: Electric vehicle subsidy scheme receives over 500 applications in five hours | Cyprus Mail

Tender being launched for smart traffic lights in coming days | Cyprus Mail

The transport ministry will in the coming days launch a tender process to secure 125 smart traffic lights that will be deployed at key spots in Nicosia and Limassol to ease traffic flows, minister Yiannis Karousos said on Friday.

Eighty of the lights will be installed in Nicosia and 45 in Limassol.

Speaking to reporters after an Epiphany event in Ayia Napa, Karousos said the 125 points would be controlled through sensors and AI and “will communicate with each other” to determine traffic flow.

“We calculate that based on experience abroad, there will be a benefit of between 10 per cent and 35 per cent depending on the point and the particularities of each point,” he said.

“In other words in order for everyone to understand how the system will work, it will like having 125 digital traffic wardens, who will take the data, analyse it and accordingly give the right priority at each point”.

He said something similar had been tried at the Ayia Fyla roundabout in Limassol, which had cut traffic jams by more than 50 per cent.

Karousos said the selection of the installation points had been made by the department of public works in cooperation with the police.

“They are main points that we consider need the specific system,” he said.

Unlike the traffic cameras, this will is not a pilot programme, the minister said.

“It is a complete solution based on the available statistics,” he said.

The new lights are part of an overall plan with other elements designed to reduce traffic jams in the cities.

Source: Tender being launched for smart traffic lights in coming days | Cyprus Mail

Road tax renewals start on Wednesday | Cyprus Mail

Road tax for 2022 can be renewed online as of Wednesday, the road transport department has announced.

It clarified the renewal of road tax is only possible online and not at bank branches. “Therefore, the public is advised not to go to banks to renew their vehicle registration licences,” the announcement said.

Road circulation permits can be renewed for a period of three, six, nine and 12 months, until midnight on Saturday, March 11.

Late renewals submitted after the March deadline, will be subject to a €10 euro fine plus an additional 10 per cent of the value of the road permit for the current year.

Road permits can be renewed throughout the year online at banks, citizen support centres, district post offices, and transport department offices. Applicants must submit a certificate of MOT and insurance.

The transport department notes that no reminder notices will be sent.

In addition, the public is reminded that those who do not intend to renew their vehicle permit for 2023, must submit a notice of vehicle immobilisation. Failure to do so will result in being fined.

Vehicles that did not have their road tax renewed for 2022 and have not been declared immobilised will be deleted from the register if the amount due for 2022 and the renewal fee for 2023 are unpaid by midnight on March 11.

Source: Road tax renewals start on Wednesday | Cyprus Mail

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