Cypriot Law Threatens to Discourage Cycling

"urban cycling cyprus"A new law in the works in Cyprus may deter cycling (and therefore promote more carbon-emitting forms of transportation).

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.

: Cyprus Mail

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

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2 thoughts on “Cypriot Law Threatens to Discourage Cycling”

  1. Gressy says:

    I can only presume you have not been to Cyprus if you think pavements are an option for cyclists.

    There are very few pavements in Cyprus, even in large towns. In the centre of the capital, Nicosia, for example, they are non-existent within the city walls. Those pavements that do exist are typically very narrow (less than one metre wide), and they tend to turn into steps every 100 metres or so. Even wider pavements will be blocked by trees planted in the middle of them, or by cars illegally parked on them.

    You really would have to be a very experienced mountain cyclist to use a pavement in Cyprus. In fact as a pedestrian in Cyprus (a rare creature) I can tell you I tend to walk on the road where it is safer!

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