Efforts are being made to promote cycling as a safe and reliable means of transport, exercise and entertainment, Transport Minister Yiannis Karousos said on Saturday.

He was speaking at the inauguration of the second phase of the project aiming to connect universities in the capital to the city centre through the creation of bike lanes.

“The lack of cycling infrastructure up until now made it difficult for people to opt for a bicycle for their daily commute,” Karousos said.

“Now, this obstacle has been overcome, thus adding an economical and environmentally friendly option for the movement of citizens in Nicosia,” he added.

The minister explained that promoting cycling is part of the ministry’s long-term strategy to reduce carbon emissions, under the pledge of achieving net zero emission by 2050.

“By promoting cycling as a means of transportation, the government aims to reduce traffic by providing alternative options for transport,” Karousos said, explaining that “in addition to reducing the environmental footprint and urban noise, cycling promotes an improved quality of life, saves energy and helps reduce road wear”.

Karousos said that connecting the universities to the city centre through new cycling infrastructure is very important since it will help students reduce costs, as it’s cheaper to cycle to university rather than driving there.

Moreover, he called on students to make the most of the new bike lanes by integrating cycling into their daily lives.

Meanwhile, Nicosia Mayor Constantinos Yiorkadjis said that the municipality’s vision is for Nicosia to become a more sustainable city for the benefit of future generations.

“The environmental footprint of the city must be minimised by reducing emissions from cars and facilitating access to other modes of transport that are environmentally friendly, such as bicycles,” Yiorkadjis said.

“That is why the network of bike lanes was created, to make cycling to and from the centre of Nicosia a daily, comfortable, pleasant and, above all else, safe experience for everyone”.

The project that was inaugurated has a total budget of €2,235,000 with a total length of 5.2km.