The transport ministry said on Thursday that it has received 2,629 applications from bikers hoping to buy protective equipment under a new scheme aiming to promote road safety.

“The number of applications is considered particularly encouraging and proves that motorcyclists appreciate the need for additional equipment for their safety on the road network,” it said in a written statement.

Of the 2,629 applications submitted within the deadline, 153 are for low-powered bikes. Because the applications exceed the pre-approved number, there will be an electronic lottery. Pre-approved applicants will then be notified by email or SMS or by post. They will then be given three months to submit the documentation proving their purchase and their bank details so that their grant can be paid.

Applicants who secure pre-approval but do not make a purchase or do not submit the required documentation within the deadlines will not receive a subsidy and the grant will be given to runners up.

Transport Minister Yiannis Karousos expressed satisfaction with the keen interest shown by bikers.

“The scheme is part of the strategy and policies being implemented by the transport ministry in cooperation with the road safety council to improve conditions on the road network for the protection of all users,” he said.

The aim is to offer the tools that offer the greatest possible protection of bikers, who are the most vulnerable road users.

Cyprus has seen a surge in road fatalities in recent months, especially among bikers, with June one of the worst months on record.

“Improving road behaviour and cultivating the right culture on the road network is as much the responsibility of the state, society and each member of the public,” Karousos said.

Launched on June 23, the scheme provides for a grant of €500 or the actual cost of purchase, whichever amount is smaller to pay for a motorcycle body airbag.

It is part of a three-year €1.05 m programme that will in the future cover gloves and other protective equipment.

Beneficiaries of the project are Cypriot, European, and third-country nationals who are permanent residents of Cyprus, are holders of a category A, A1 or A2 licence, and are owners of a registered motorcycle.