The transport ministry plans to lower inner city speed limits to 20 and 30 kilometres per hour in a bid to promote other forms of transport, Transport Minister Yiannis Karousos said on Tuesday after leading a meeting on promoting bicycle use.

During the meeting Karousos outlined the work done so far through his ministry’s strategic plan for the promotion of bicycle use, which is set to last until 2023 with a budget of €4 million.

This included the bicycle subsidy scheme, which launched in November 2021 to great success. According to Karousos the scheme’s popularity “showed that Cypriot society is changing and turning to alternative and more sustainable means of transport, with lower energy consumption, which ensures accessibility and mobility for all”.

“The plan’s aim is to increase the multimodality of traffic and facilitate a transition into sustainable means of transport and active movement, like cycling and walking,” he said.

Promoting cycling as a means of transport aims to alleviate traffic while also contributing towards the implementation of the government’s legal and institutional commitment to the EU when it comes to cutting emissions, he said.

Karousos said that other projects aiming to promote bicycle use are in progress, such as a fare exemption on public transport for those using bicycles, and bike paths connecting universities with the centre of Nicosia.

He said that phase two is complete and tenders will soon be called for phase 3, which will start from Famagusta gate, pass through Frederick Unviersity, the Bata roundabout and end at Kaimakli linear park.

In addition to the above, Karousos said the transport ministry has ordered the construction of an additional 55 kilometres of bike lanes which will be added to the existing 186 kilometres around the island.

Karousos also said that in collaboration with local municipalities, his ministry will lower the speed limit in city centres to 20 or 30 km/h and create shared spaces that will allow the safe movement of all users of the road network – pedestrians, cyclists and motorists.

During the meeting, it was agreed to raise more awareness around road safety, especially related to cyclists. This will include educational campaigns at schools that will aim at fostering awareness when using the road.

Also on Tuesday, he told CyBC his ministry is ready to announce a new subsidy scheme with a budget of €200,000 that will offer subsidies for 1,000 bicycles, with the criteria widened to include electric bicycles.