Cyprus Mail

Road death during mobility week a ‘tragic irony’, technical chamber says

The Technical Chamber Etek on Thursday slammed the authorities for sitting on their hands after a man was killed last Saturday when his mobility scooter was hit by a car in Kaimakli, Nicosia.

In a statement, the chamber said it was a human right for people to be able to move safely in public places.

“It is a tragic irony that during European Mobility Week, Cyprus had a fatal road accident and the victim was a disabled person who was forced to take his electric wheelchair on to the roadway,” Etek said.

“This incident is the culmination of the tolerance and inertia of those who have responsibility and competence to regulate and control compliance with the rules of road traffic and behaviour,” it added.

Most worrying, Etek said, was that in the face of complaints lodged by the president of the Cyprus  Paraplegic Association, the competent bodies appeared to be sitting on their hands.

“Issues such as policing illegal parking, the adoption of deterrent penalties for such infringements, and the provision and maintenance of functional pedestrian and disability pavements do not appear to be self-explanatory to them,” the statement said.

Etek said that between 2014 and 2018, some 63 pedestrians lost their lives, a figure corresponding to one quarter of road deaths in Cyprus during the period.

Cyprus, it said, was in the worst position in the European Union when it comes to urban road deaths at 65 per cent compared with the EU average of 36.8 per cent of fatalities.

Etek said it was calling for immediate recognition of the problem and immediate measures.

It suggests recognition by the police and municipalities that certain types of illegal parking such as on pavement parking, pedestrian crossings and on intersections are extremely dangerous practices and “they should be police with zero tolerance on a systematic daily basis”.

It also called for increased penalties for illegal parking “at genuinely deterrent levels”, the possibility of introducing towing measure and immobilisation of illegally-parked vehicles, and a change in the urban speed limit.

Municipalities should launch specific actions so that the existing pavements are functional and accessible by the removal of permanent and movable barriers, by repairing pavements and ramps for the disabled, “no derogations”.

It also called for the creation of more pedestrian areas with a total ban on cars in those areas

Etek also called for a change in the mentality of drivers through education and awareness campaigns.

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