By Angelos Anastasiou
THE unprecedented financial crisis hitting Cyprus over the last two years has had a toll on road safety, with almost four in ten saloon cars having at least one worn-out tyre as of June 2015, up from under 12 per cent in October 2013, a survey by non-governmental organisation REACTION Youth for the Prevention revealed on Friday.
At a news conference, the NGO unveiled the survey findings, pulled from inspections of 539 vehicles from 8 to 12 June. More than half of the vehicles inspected were saloon cars – 54.7 per cent – while 16.6 per cent were four-wheel-drives, 17.4 per cent were pick-up trucks, 9.7 were trucks, and 1.6 per cent buses. Three in four drivers of cars inspected were men.
According to REACTION leader Marios Stavrou, the right tyres and their proper maintenance form a key safeguard to road safety.
Presenting the survey’s findings, he said that the pressure in at least one tyre of 39 per cent of saloon cars inspected in the Nicosia district had been incorrect. In Paphos, this figure shot to over 60 per cent.
Of four-wheel-drive cars in the Nicosia district, 57 per cent were found to have had wrong tyre pressure, while Limassol scored 26 per cent in this category.
In terms of tyre pressure, trucks were cause for most concern as almost eight in ten were found to have incorrectly-pressurised tyres. Buses in Paphos also pose a significant risk as two in three were found with wrong pressure in at least one tyre.
In all, 44 per cent of saloon cars inspected, 43 per cent of four-by-fours, 49 per cent of pick-up trucks, 60 per cent of trucks, and 24 per cent of buses, were found to have at least one tyre under- or over-pressurised.
One in two pick-up trucks across Cyprus were found to have at least one tyre worn out. A close second, at 47 per cent, were trucks, while saloons, four-wheel-drives, and buses, trailed with 38, 36, and 33 per cent, respectively.
According to Stavrou, the trend of worn-out tyres found on vehicles over the last two years has been constantly increasing.
In October 2013, slightly more than one in ten – 11.8 per cent – of saloon cars with at least one faulty tyre were spotted. The figure spiked to 20.1 per cent in June 2014, while a quarter later it was measured at 27.3 per cent, before reaching a two-year high of 38 per cent this month.
Another indicative figure is the increase of trucks with at least one worn-out tyre – from 26.9 per cent in October 2014, the number jumped to 46.5 per cent in less than a year.
“This is largely owed to the financial crisis that has hit Cyprus in recent years,” Stavrou said.
Michelin’s Stavros Geordamilis said improperly inflated tyres may lead to instability on the road, especially on turns, aquaplaning (loss of traction on wet roads), longer braking times, damage to tyres, and increased fuel consumption.
If maintained properly, tyres may last anywhere between 40,000 and 80,000 kilometres, depending on driving habits
and road condition, he added.