Cyprus Mail

Life, potential death and justice on Cypriot roads

At 2.30 on Thursday afternoon, I was locking my car when a woman in a Mercedes saloon hit me with her left side wing mirror as I was standing right next to my car door. She also hit my right wing mirror which flew off into the middle of the road. I sustained severe bruising to my left backside area as well as to the bridge of my nose as the force of the blow pushed my face onto the car. My trousers were ripped. The lady parked some 50 yards further down the road but failed to come to see how I was or come to my assistance. More of this later.

I was parked outside a bank on a main road in Paphos, admittedly not in a designated parking space but in an area where cars have habitually parked in order to go to the ATM. There was a car parked behind me with two girls inside, both of whom came to my aid and provided me with a bottle of water. A nearby café owner brought me a chair to sit on. The police arrived, as did the insurance assessor. I was indeed lucky to still be on this planet. After all the formalities were concluded by providing all the necessary documents, I was questioned by the police and they took various measurements and photographs.

They then interviewed the lady driver of the Mercedes which I overheard. She refuted my contention that the blow her vehicle had inflicted on me had ripped my trousers and that this had occurred as I fell. I didn’t. Fall, that is. She then told the two policemen in Greek that the English are habitual liars, whereupon I confronted her in Greek that her comments were disgusting.

Because of my physical appearance, Cypriots have on numerous occasions assumed that I don’t speak Greek and doubtless she felt she was on a winning ticket to try and deflect from her reprehensible driving and spin her story to the police. What she didn’t bargain for was yours truly tripping her up and giving it back to her with interest in her own language. Notwithstanding my words, she continued with her diatribe and the police had to restrain her from mouthing further hysterical lies and verbal abuse.

Apart from the hit to the wing mirror, the car was perfectly in order to drive so I was able to go to traffic headquarters to make an official statement. I hasten to add that the insurance assessor and the police had been very supportive. They also confirmed that as I was stationary, she was at fault and that it was her insurance which would have to pay for any damage.

Despite what had happened, I had the presence of mind to take the name and phone number of one of the girls in the car behind me who bore witness to this event. I handed these details to the police and insurance assessor. The presence of these two were referred to the Mercedes driver and a nearby CCTV was also pointed out to her. However, she would have none of it.

At the police station, I gave a full statement while experiencing a fair amount of discomfort in my left side while sitting. I was told that because my injuries didn’t appear to entail broken bones or worse, no further action would be taken in respect of the woman’s almost criminal lack of due care and attention.

But this isn’t the end of this sorry tale as insult was literally added to injury – in this case my injury: I was issued with a €50 fine for parking in a non-designated area. Justice? That’s a chimera in Cyprus as the above exemplifies.

A full X-ray at the hospital revealed no broken bones so I suppose that a week or more being extensively black and blue is probably on the cards and is something for which in the Cypriot context I should be eternally grateful.

GJ, Paphos, Name and address supplied

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