Police have launched an urgent appeal to all road users after three fatalities over the weekend, bringing the total number of deaths on the island’s roads to 16 so far this year.
And road safety NGO Reaction renewed calls for higher penalties urging authorities to take action immediately. It said that parliamentary committees must meet two or three times a week to discuss and approve amendments to the law to enhance road safety.
“They must be approved before the House breaks for the summer recess. Lives are being lost. I call on the President of the Republic, the President of the House of Representatives and all the MPs to move forward with the measures they have before them,” said REACTION president Marios Stavrou.
Should money be needed to improve the road network then it should be released, if changes are needed to traffic cameras can be installed they should be made immediately, he said. “If the whole road safety strategy should be overhauled, then it should be done before we lose any more young people,” he said.
The appeal from police follows a deadly weekend during which two bikers and a woman driver were killed in three separate incidents in Paphos, Limassol and Paralimni.
Police said that human factor appeared to be responsible for all three accidents and urged everyone to do their bit to stem the bloodshed on the roads.
In Kato Paphos, a 36 year old woman sustained fatal injuries on Saturday afternoon when she attempted to make a U-turn and collided with another car whose driver is under arrest.
The second victim, a 19 year old biker, lost control of his motorbike in Limassol a little after midnight on Sunday and was thrown on to the pavement.
And on Sunday afternoon, a 32 year biker was killed when his motorbike collided with a car driven by a 55 year old man who attempted a right turn on the Paralimni-Sotira road, cutting off the bike that was coming in the opposite direction. That driver has also been arrested.
Police expressed deep sorrow over the accidents and extended their condolences to the families of the victims.
They noted that they were doing all they could to prevent road fatalities and serious accidents and again appealed to everyone to contribute to stemming the number of fatalities, each in their capacity as citizens, parents, siblings, friends, police officers or road users.
“It is essential to cultivate the appropriate conduct on the roads. It is the personal responsibility of everyone to drive responsibly, defensively and adhere to the traffic code,” police said.
They singled out the importance of keeping to the speed limit, wearing a seat belt and helmet, not driving when under the influence of alcohol and not using a mobile phone when driving.
Bikers are especially vulnerable, accounting for 10 of the 16 road deaths so far this year.
Police statistics show that there were 44 road fatalities in Cyprus in 2013, of whom 14 were bikers and one a passenger on a bike. In 2014, 45 people were killed on the roads, of whom 10 were on motorbikes and four on mopeds. In 2016, there were 46 road deaths of of whom 10 were bikers and one a passenger while in 2017 a total of 53 people were killed on the roads, 14 of them bikers. Last year, of the 49 road fatalities 11 were bikers and three were passengers.
For the period 2014-2018, 24% of accidents were due to drunk driving, 24.37% to careless driving, 10.5% to speeding, 11.34% to failure to keep to the left side of the road, 7.98% to carelessness by pedestrians, 7.98% to use of drugs, 5.46% to making a careless right turn, 1.68% to failure to stop at a pedestrian crossing, 2.52% failure to give way and 1.26% not complying with traffic signs.