We’ve heard some pretty crazy stories coming out of Cyprus lately (such as some Cypriots’ appetite for pickled migrating songbirds), but this may be just as shocking: a new Cypriot law proposal wishes to fine and imprison cyclists for riding on pavements, among other things. The problem with this law? Cypriot cyclists currently have no allocated bike lanes and it is dangerous for them to use the roads, so the sidewalks are their only real urban cycling option. Take this away, and you may as well be taking cycling in Cyprus away altogether.
Environment Commisioner Charalambos Theopepmtou agrees that the proposal is a problem, saying that “such a ban should be enforced only when the necessary infrastructure is put in place or else it will keep cyclists away.”
The proposal supports fining cyclists for biking on the sidewalks, and after a series of a few such fines, imprisoning them for between seven days to two months. Cyclists could also be fined 1000 Euros for biking on the highway.
The real problem, though, is not that these cyclists are trying to make do and use whatever infrastructures are currently at their disposal. The problem is that there is no room in Cyprus’s transportation system for cyclists.
Theopemptou continued, in his talk last week at the House Communication and Works Committee, saying that “with the way cars move in Cyprus and the deficiencies in infrastructure, it is almost certain that if this provision is not removed, cyclists will decrease instead of increase.”
This would be a strange time to deter cycling, as a new municipal bicycle rental system launched in the capital city of Nicosia a few days ago. The system currently has 30 designated stations around the city where cyclists can pick up or drop off bikes.
Read more about cycling all over the Middle East:
Darreja Campaign Encourages Sustainable Transportation in Lebanon
An Insider’s Experience of Exploring Beirut by Bike
Tel Aviv Cyclists Use Their Hot Bodies to Protest the Naked Truth About Urban Cycling in Israel
Image via: Lauren Manning