Drivers on major roads in Cypriot cities may soon need to slow down further, if a new effort by the Road Safety Council takes hold reducing speed limits further from 50 down to just 30 kilometres per hour.
According to Philenews, the Road Safety Council met on Wednesday where speed limits in urban areas were discussed, particularly focusing on narrow streets and roads where many pedestrians use sidewalks.
Reports said pavements in revitalized areas, such as Stasikratous Street in Nicosia and Ankara Road in Limassol, have been lowered and widened for pedestrian use while road widths have shrunk overall.
The Road Safety Council, which is presided by Transport Minister Yiannis Karousos, has stated that letters will soon go out to municipalities to get feedback on specific roads where the speed limit may need to be reduced, citing accident risk concerns.
Speed limits in school zones remain at 30 kilometres (20 miles per hour) while approaching speed at roundabouts is set to 20 kilometres (10 mph) and other roads remain at 50 km (30 miles) and 65 km (40 miles) on some avenues.
The Road Safety Council said letters will soon go out to municipalities to get feedback on specific roads where the speed limit may need to be reduced, citing the risk of an accident
Some limits over 50 km have been controversial in Cypriot cities, with authorities arguing road fatalities on urban roads are largely due to speeding. But some local groups have argued the 50 km limit may be too slow and that accidents tend to occurr at much higher speeds than 65 or due to other violations, including running red lights and illegal turns.
In one case, on Griva Digeni Street in Nicosia’s Engomi borough, the limit had been set at 50 km near the island’s only operational pair of speed cameras, but it got changed to 65 km after many people complained over citations saying 50 was too slow for a road that has a divider that is relatively safe.
Local media said the street in question was often used as race track by speeding cars and loud motorcycles in the late evening hours, especially on the weekend, while a number of blanket bans designed to bring the noise down have been challenged as unconstitutional.
Karousos, who previously said his ministry was ready to take on the irresponsible and discourteous drivers, argued the transport department has the power to “suspend immediately” permits of serious traffic violators while their cases were being investigated.
Last year the minister announced that the government was ready to enforce strict policies regarding serious traffic offences, including driving under the influence and going well beyond the speed limit.
Last year the Road Safety Council approved a new guideline that instructed traffic police to drop their tolerance from 20% over the limit down to 10% plus 2 km/h in some urban and rural roads.
Under the new rule, a car moving 35 kilometres on a road where the speed limit is 30kph would not be cited, but if the radar catches it going 36 and over, then a police officer can issue a citation.
Speed tolerance on motorways and highways remains at 20%, which translates to 120 kilometres in a 100kph zone and 97 kilometres in an 80 kph zone.