Cyprus Mail

Illegally parked cars should be towed away, say wheelchair users after fatal accident

Cars parked on pavements block wheelchair users

The head of the paraplegic association on Monday called for cars illegally parked on pavements to be towed away after a wheelchair user on Saturday was forced onto the road and killed in a car accident.

“It was a matter of time and unfortunately it happened…The illegal parking on pavements in combination with reckless drivers lead to traffic accidents. Certainly, humans are at fault, in this case the authorities that do not adequately fulfill their duties,” Demetris Labrianides, the head of the paraplegic association said on Monday.

He was referring to the fatal accident on Saturday when a 69-year-old man in a wheelchair was hit by a car in the Kaimakli area of Nicosia after he was forced onto the street because of the cars parked on the pavement.

Authorities should use stricter measures to monitor the illegal parking to avoid traffic accidents and maintain accessibility for people with disabilities he said.

He added that only two days after the tragedy, cars were still parked on the pavement of the street where the accident happened.

“Children walk on the street to go to school because cars are parked on pavements. The issue of illegal parking on sidewalks is the responsibility of the traffic police.”

Over a year ago the association suggested officers take pictures of vehicles found parked illegally and send the fine via post so that people know they will get punished and quit the habit. He added that a good measure would be to tow cars away to scare the drivers.

He also alleged that some city councilors ask the traffic officers to be more lenient because shop owners are pressuring them to allow their customers to park on the pavement in front of their shops.

Police spokesman Christos Andreou said on Saturday a meeting would be held to discuss possible solutions.

“The public need to understand that police cannot be everywhere at once. In order to stop fatalities in the streets, we need to fight all together,” he told ANT1.

He said drivers think they can park anywhere they like which makes it hard for the police to monitor them and that 4620 fines had been issued in the first eight months of 2019 for illegal parking on pavements.

In regards to trees on pavements that might be an obstacle for people with physical disabilities, Labrianides said that a memorandum has been prepared between the Green Party to assess when trees need to be cut down for better pavement access.

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