By Evie Andreou
SPEED cameras were installed to combat illegal car races at night and not to fine day time drivers, Engomi mayor Zacharias Kyriacou said yesterday, telling the police to switch off the cameras during the day.
“The cameras were not installed to report people who go to work in the mornings and instead of driving 65km they forget and drive 72km,” Kyriacou said.
The mayor said he proposed to the traffic police chief, Yiannakis Charalambous, that the speed cameras operate only between 11pm and 5am instead of round the clock.
According to the mayor many people complained because the cameras are activated during the day time too and many, especially local residents, have received four to five fines and they risk having their driving licences revoked.
“It is a matter of equal treatment, residents of the area cannot be the only ones being reported,” Kyriacou said.
Charalambous said that the decision lies with the Communications and Works and the Justice ministries.
“We have some suggestions and we will present them to the two ministries in our upcoming meeting,” he said.
Police said that from the beginning of June, when the cameras became operational, 20,000 speed violations have been recorded.
“There is a decreasing tendency in speed violations. At first we had over 500 speed violations per day but now they have fallen to 350-370 per day,” Charalambous said.
He added that the majority of the violations take place during the day time.
As regards the illegal car races that take place along Griva Digeni Avenue, the traffic chief said that the cameras have helped a lot, but Kyriacou insists that the issue was resolved only where the cameras are installed.
They cover the area from the Metokhi traffic lights to the Engomi McDonalds traffic lights.
“Our suggestion, which was the creation of elongated speed bumps, is yet to materialise, although I was re-assured that work for their construction would begin by the end of July,” Kyriacou said.
Former traffic chief Demetris Demetriou had said last month that the speed cameras and the four speed bumps – two per lane – would resolve the racing problem.
The speed bumps will be laid on the part of the avenue not covered by the cameras, from McDonalds’ traffic lights to the Colokasides round-about.
The speed limit on Griva Digeni avenue is 50 km/h as it runs through a residential area that has long suffered noise pollution and increased accident rates caused by racing drivers.
The cameras are operated by police officers, unlike the rest of the planned traffic camera network that will be set up in early 2015 all over the island.
By the end of July the communications ministry will be putting together a tender, aiming to have the new system up and running by February 2015.