It was only a couple weeks ago that a Cypriot law proposal threatened to fine cyclists for riding on sidewalks (among other things out of the cyclists’ control due to lack of proper infrastructure). At the same time, strangely enough, a bike-sharing system was being launched in Nicosia to increase cycling. The system, which is similar to the bike-sharing networks launched in Tel Aviv and Doha earlier this year, allows users to cycle the streets of Nicosia on one of 315 bikes docked at 27 stations throughout the city.
Environment Commissioner Charalambos Theopepmtou is skeptical of the system’s truly positive environmental impact, though, saying that “the purpose [of the system] was to connect the universities and encourage leisurely cycling, not cycling on an everyday basis.”
Obviously, commuter cycling would be ideal as it would reduce traffic and smog. The city’s network of bike lanes (which is currently not complete) will connect Nicosia’s universities and does not take commuter needs into account.
“No political decision has been taken to accommodate those who want to commute on their bikes,” Theopemptou said.
In fact, it almost seems as though political decisions are about to be made in Cyprus that would discourage cycling altogether, with a law proposal suggesting fines or imprisonment for cycling on sidewalks (even in the absence of bike lanes) and a fine for biking on the highway.
Ayios Dhometios mayor, Andreas Hadjiloizou, feels that Cyprus has the potential to become a nation of cyclers once again. “Forty or fifty years ago people used to ride their bike to work,” he says.
Perhaps those days could return, if the new bike-sharing system was launched alongside the lanes to make it work.
Read more about bicycle sharing and urban cycling across the Middle East::
Cypriot Law Threatens to Discourage Cycling
Doha and Tel Aviv Launch Two-Wheel Options for Urban Transportation
Tel-O-Fun (Finally) Brings Bike Sharing to Tel Aviv
Time For A Cycling Revolution and “Critical Mass” in Cairo
Image via: Cyprus Mail