I have lived in Cyprus since January, and used the roads and pavements of Limassol and beyond as a pedestrian, cyclist, motorcyclist and driver. As a headmaster, I have also seen the effects of life-changing injuries to children caused by traffic accidents, even in this short period.

I have been very concerned by the experience of road use in Cyprus since my arrival, and, frankly, I can’t grasp why this relatively small, and certainly friendly, country tolerates such conditions on its roads.

It is not unusual to see cars and motorcycles drive at excessive speeds through red lights, over pedestrian crossings, far too close to other road users, and so on. It should be clear to most people that there is nothing more dangerous that we do on a day-to-day basis than be in control of over a ton of deadly steel in close proximity to other such machines.

Given the relatively short distances driven on the island, the EU statistics on deaths per head of population are misleading. Cyprus should be looking at statistics of fatalities per kilometre driven instead. As it is, Cyprus has a higher rate of fatalities on urban roads and amongst pedestrians than many other EU countries.

In my humble opinion, the traffic-related problems here stem from three fundamental areas, and each needs to be addressed to improve things significantly.

Firstly, the training is problematic – the fact that people think it’s fine to turn without indicating (an action which costs nothing, but can save a life) or drive at 100km/h along a busy urban street while using a smartphone shows that people fundamentally don’t understand the hazards and risks involved.

Secondly, the lack of respect for other road users is shocking – as anyone who has cycled here, or seen a mother forced to walk along the road with her children because the driver of some SUV has decided that the pavement is his or her personal parking space can confirm.

Thirdly, the lack of traffic rule enforcement – I have repeatedly seen the police driving around in marked cars, lights flashing, on their phones and turning without indicating, whilst ignoring obvious traffic violations going on around them.

Until the authorities act in these three areas, children and adults will be unnecessarily hurt, and many will die, for no reason.

Ilya from Limassol