A proposed bill on new regulations for drivers of motorcycles in Cyprus introduces measures aimed at boosting safety, but the law would also mean tough restrictions on food delivery guys who work on a learner’s permit.
Transport Minister Yiannis Karousos says new legislation proposals approved by the Cabinet would require drivers, who operate vehicles on a learner’s permit for two years, to obtain a regular license or renew the probationary permit with a new exam.
But while the law would enforce additional measures for professional drivers in delivery and transport, such as protective safety gear and clothing, it also calls for those on probationary permits to be shadowed while driving their motorcycle.
“Probationary drivers would also be required to drive their motorcycles while being shadowed by another person with a regular license in another vehicle, just like it happens with new drivers in cars who are supervised by another person in the front seat” Karousos said.
Many food delivery drivers in the Republic of Cyprus are foreign nationals who work on a learner’s permit, which can be obtained after six months of legal stay on the island.
'A learner’s permit is for learning how to drive, it’s not for working while at it' Karousos said
But proving legal stay for six months may be a challenge for many applicants.
An internal clarification memo was issued last year by the Transport department, instructing administrators to request an original document known as “pink slip” when issuing or renewing probationary licenses to foreign nationals.
In some cases pink slips may not be handed over while applications are pending with Migration, with the memo encouraging administrators to speak with their supervisors when evaluating documents to ensure proper document assessment, including reviewing a number of possible items that could help establish physical presence on the island.
But Karousos said a learner’s permit was not sufficient to train someone to drive a motorcycle in accordance with the traffic code and regulations, saying “we want them to be trained by professionals and not educate themselves by driving around.”
“A learner’s permit is for learning how to drive, it’s not for working while at it,” Karousos said, adding that the cost of protective gear for drivers should be paid by employers.
The minister went on to say the bill was meant to boost safety, alluding to recommendations by experts and ministry data that showed there were 16 people on motorcycles including drivers and passengers who died in 2019, while 14 were killed in accidents in each of 2020 and 2021.
Previous reports said employers in Cyprus have been hesitant to employ foreigner nationals on student visas in specific approved fields, citing fewer restrictions and less paperwork in hiring asylees.
But the interior ministry has been crying foul over a rise in asylum applications on the island, with Nicosia warning it would not sign off on Brussels’ new migration pact unless specific measures are taken to help the island curb migrant flows.
The bill for the proposed motorcycle law will head to the House for debate.