SOCIETY: Cyprus has fourth worse road death rate in Europe

Cyprus ranks a shameful fourth from bottom in Europe for fatal urban road accidents while 31% of all deaths are bike riders, an ETSC (European Transport Safety Council) report reveals.

According to the report, urban mortality is the highest in Romania with 105 deaths per million inhabitants four times the EU average, followed by Croatia with 88 deaths per million, Serbia 74, Cyprus 60, Greece 58 and Poland 57.

The report notes that “progress” in reducing deaths has stalled in the UK, Spain and Cyprus.

Progress was below the EU average in Israel, Lithuania, Finland, Hungary, Germany, Ireland, France, Sweden and the Netherlands and in any case slower than progress on rural roads.

Road deaths on urban roads fell by 9% slower per year than in rural roads in Lithuania, 8% in Norway, 7% in Cyprus and Estonia, 5% in Spain, and 2% in Germany, France and Belgium.

Furthermore, more than 50% of all road accidents occur on urban roads in Cyprus, Romania, Croatia, Serbia and Portugal and almost 50% in Greece.

In addition, mopeds/motorcycle riders account for 43% of all urban deaths in Greece, 31% in Cyprus, 29% in Italy, 28% in France, 26% in Spain and 25% in Portugal.

George Morfakis, a Cyprus road safety expert said: Mopeds are widely used on urban roads by young and inexperienced people who are mostly students or delivery service providers.

He added: Most of the young moped users ride with a learner’s licence and they lack proper training. The use of crash helmets is not as widespread as desired and often when helmets are used, they are not properly strapped.

Also, to blame was a lack of respect for bike riders among other vehicle drivers.

Significant speed limit violations or inappropriate driving speeds by car drivers, motorcycle riders and occasionally moped riders contribute to the high toll, said Morfakis.

High level of other traffic code violations by all road users on urban roads, including extensive illegal parking which hinders visibility, or parking on the wrong side of the street, is another problem.

Generally, the main challenges for cities are the imposition of safe speed limits, as those countries that do monitor compliance with the limits, record that 35% to 75% of the speeds exceed 50 km/h.

ETSC is an independent non-profit organization based in Brussels, founded in 1993 and funded through a variety of sources, including subscriptions, European Commission funds, and public and private sector support.

Source: The Financial Mirror