By Constantinos Psillides
A total of 867 traffic violations were registered in the first 24 hours by two speed cameras installed on busy Griva Digenis Avenue in Nicosia, according to chief of the traffic police Demetris Demetriou.
“We had hoped that this wasn’t the case. People have been warned that the cameras would start operating on Monday but unfortunately not many listened,” Demetriou told the Cyprus Mail, adding that the highest speed caught on camera was 125 km/h.
The speed limit for residential areas is 50 km/h.
The cameras were installed in early May but didn’t start working until last week. During a weekend test run, cameras reported almost 2,000 speed violations. The police announced the cameras would go online on Monday but that didn’t have the desired effect on motorists.
“We have already started sending out fines,” Demetriou said.
Anyone caught speeding within 30 per cent over the speed limit is fined €1 per kilometre. Those speeding within 30-50 per cent over the speed limit will be fined €2 per km and issued 2 traffic penalty points, those caught speeding 50-75 per cent over the speed limit will be fined €3 per km plus 3 traffic penalty points.
Anyone caught driving over 75 per cent beyond the speed limit will be sent to court.
While the newly-installed camera system is run by police officers, this will not be case with the new islandwide camera network that is slated to be operational by early 2015.
The communications ministry plans to invite tenders by July so that the new system is fully functional by February 2015.
With the exception of the two cameras on Grivas Dhigenis avenue, the traffic camera network will be run by a private contractor, which would notify police of any violations recorded so that a ticket is issued.
The privately set up and run network model was chosen to minimise costs to taxpayers.
Installing traffic cameras dates back almost a decade. After heated debates, mainly focused on personal data protection, a network was set up in 2006 but was quickly discarded. The cameras had numerous problems, including a failure to store photographs and extensive bureaucracy that in some cases resulted in fining a person twice for the same violation while letting others go unpunished.