EDEK deputy Roulla Mavronicola has tabled a draft law proposal to hike the fine for parking in a disabled spot or a pavement from the current €85 to €1,000, the Cyprus News Agency reported on Thursday.
The proposal was tabled to the House communications committee.
It provides that in addition to the higher fines, that offenders have their car towed and impounded, which the motorist would also have to pay for in addition to the penalty.
She said the proposal was not designed to punish but to be a deterrent.
“We need to implement tougher measures to be able to change the mentality,” Mavronicola said, adding that the issue had been on the agenda for 20 years already and would take courage and political will to change things.
“We [parliament] have the courage and we expect the government to have the political will,” she said.
Mavronicola conceded that there would be some practical problems with regards to implementation but said she expected parliament with the help of the legal service to find solutions.
But the proposal was not welcomed by all. DISY MP Aristotelis Misos expressed reservations and said that at this stage he could not promote the bill without first having a dialogue with local government and the ministry of transport.
Top of his concerns was where cars would be impounded and how government could collect the higher fines and additional fees.
The chairman of the Paraplegics Association Demetris Lambrianides welcomed the fact that the House was considering the issue and pointed out that a request had been submitted last year to the House Speaker accompanied by 2,000 signatures of citizens who supported the move.
He said it was the only way to solve the mobility problems disabled people face when motorists park in disabled spots and pavements.
“It is not just illegal but it reduces the quality of life for people with disabilities and jeopardizes their lives as they are often forced on to the road due to a car being parked on the pavement,” he added.
The same problem was being faced by pedestrians and children, he said, adding that the association received dozens of complaints daily.
“Society demands the enactment of such a law,” he added.
To make the proposal more effective, the association suggested including private parking lots like in supermarkets, malls, hotels, apartments and so on.
The association said vehicles that could not be moved should be clamped until the fine was paid. In a memo they submitted to parliament, they proposed cutting the €1,000 penalty to €500 and making it a spot fine when it comes to parking places reserved for disabled people.
It should also be a €350 spot fine when the offense was committed in other areas, the association said.
They also want penalty points to be added and the provisions to apply to lots which charge for parking.