Some progress on drafting cycle lane law
By Anna Hassapi
ALTHOUGH painfully slow and way past the deadline, some progress has recently been achieved on paving the way towards drafting a bill that regulates bicycle lanes in Cyprus. After considerable consultation, relevant authorities have decided upon the definitions of ‘bicycle-road’, ‘bicycle-lane’, as well as on placement criteria for each, the construction and sign-posting for bicycle lanes, the crossing of bicycle lanes and bicycle roads, and the type of crossing.
This was decided by a committee headed by Ministry of Transport officials, presided by Ministry official Yiorgos Morfakis. Officers from Town Planning, the CTO, the Attorney-general’s office and the union of local authorities also sat on the committee.
The committee distinguished between a bicycle lane and a bicycle road. A bicycle road has been defined as a strip of land which is solely used for bicycle transport. A bicycle lane is a strip of land adjacent to a conventional road used by vehicles; the bicycle lane is used exclusively for bicycle transport, although under special circumstances other vehicles may be allowed to use the lane.At present, there is no law to regulate bicycle movement in Cyprus, rendering the use of a bicycle in Cyprus a risky undertaking. The aim of the committee is to research technical issues, in preparation of a relevant bill. A private researcher had previously undertaken this task, but the work was found inadequate by the Attorney-general.
The cross-departmental committee is currently responsible for the task, but progress has been slow.
At a committee meeting on September 19, the Commissioner for the Environment Charalambos Theopemptou received assurances that progress would be made within eight weeks.
Today, five months down the line, some progress has finally been made.
Meanwhile, those brave enough to use bicycle lanes in Cypriot towns are exposed and frustrated. “Using bicycle lanes in Limassol is a trap,” said Yiorgos Nikolaides, press officer at Limassol Cycling Club.“If you try using the bicycle lane on the seafront, for example the one starting at Castella restaurant and ending at Amathus, you will see that every 50m there’s a gap, which is a parking exit for the buildings on the beachfront; cars keep coming out of there, cars are parked on the bicycle lane, and people are walking on the bicycle lane. All these make it really dangerous for the cyclist. It is actually safer to ride on the main road with the cars,” Nikolaides added.Established in 1991, Limassol Cycling Club has made countless efforts at taking up the problem with authorities. “We keep asking. And we keep getting promises of a very general nature.
It’s been years and we keep hearing the same things.“Specifically, we have proposed to turn the Garyllis River into a bicycle road. It could start from Polemidia dam until the sea. Authorities have said they will look into it. They have said a lot of things,” he said.The Limassol Cycling Club has been operating with practically no support from the state. “We have received no funding from no-one, not the state, not KOA.
We did get £850 from Limassol Municipality, spread across 2006 and 2007. We used the money to buy a trolley to transport our bikes.”The club organises weekly events, usually on Sundays, inviting its members to cycling trips. “We send out e-mails to about 120 people, usually about 20 people turn up and we go cycling. Our club’s aim is the promotion of the bicycle, for exercise, health and entertainment,” he added.
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