Cyprus has experienced rapid urbanisation in the last 50 years. Much development has been unplanned, resulting in serious planning problems in urban areas. In addition, Cypriots show a high degree of dependency on the private car, and few use public transport. The improvement of the existing road network and the effective management of transport systems are central to improving the urban environment. The Cypriot government aims to manage future traffic demands through the promotion of sustainable mobility and integrating transport into the overall framework of sustainable development. The Local Plans of Nicosia, Limassol, Larnaca and Paphos are all based on this sustainable development model, and include the promotion of environmentally friendly means of transport. The use of bicycles is one of the components of this approach.
The overall objectives of the project were:
- Setting up of functional, practical and feasible cycle networks utilising the existing road system and infrastructure of the four main towns of Cyprus (Nicosia, Limassol, Larnaca and Paphos), in order to encourage the use of bicycles in the day-to-day activities of citizens and visitors;
- Promotion of a healthier, more economic and environment-friendly means of transport as opposed to the traditional use of the private car; and
- Design of comprehensive bicycle networks, the incorporation of these networks in the respective Local Plans and preparation for their implementation.
The planned activities included:
- Evaluation of existing Local Plans for all four towns;
- Integration of cycle networks into Local Plans;
- Preparation of a handbook for creating cycle networks;
- Pilot demonstrations in each of the four towns;
- Awareness raising activities;
- Public opinion surveys;
- A review of existing legislation; and
- Study tours.
The project has prepared cycle networks for each of the four towns covered by the project: Nicosia, Limassol, Larnaca and Paphos. Their production involved various preparatory activities, including topographical surveys and an environmental impact assessment of the proposed pilot cycle tracks in Paphos and Nicosia. The plans are the key output of the project and – by the end of the LIFE funding – had been the subject of decisions taken by the Town Planning and Housing Department, the four Common Councils for the towns concerned, and the Town Planning Board, for inclusion in the Local Plans.
The project implemented one limited pilot cycle network in Paphos. Pilot schemes in Nicosia and Larnaca were designed but not implemented. The project obtained assurances from the local authorities that the two planned pilot schemes will go ahead in the future, with separate funding; the Ministry of Finance also indicated that it intended to increase the budget for construction of cycle lanes. Furthermore, the Cyprus Tourist Organisation had adopted cycling as part of its 10-year Strategy Plan.
The project conducted two social surveys entitled ‘The Attitudes of Cypriots towards bicycle use’ (produced in March 1999 and May 2001 respectively), based on a sample of approximately 1000 respondents from Nicosia, Limassol, Larnaca and Paphos. The project produced a technical handbook for design of bicycle facilities, and drafted a study of the legal framework to highlight legal constraints for introducing cycle facilities entitled ‘Research on the legal aspects as regards the movement of bicycles on roads in Cyprus’.
The beneficiary carried out a number of promotional activities that involved a large number of stakeholders, including eight events focusing on cycling. The cycle network plans and other outputs have been distributed to a wide audience, including Cypriot decision makers. In addition, fifteen interviews were broadcast on television and radio, and numerous newspaper articles featured the project. The second social survey produced by the project indicates that an increase in awareness both of cycling and the LIFE project has been gained through the press and other mass media.
The project laid some clear foundations that the local authorities should build on to improve the cycling environment in Cyprus for Cypriots and for tourists. According to the beneficiary, the incorporation of the necessary policies into the Local Plans is underway, and should be completed when the Local Plans are revised at the beginning of 2002.
- Municipality of Nicosia, CY
- Municipality of Limassol, CY
- Municipality of Larnaca, CY
- Municipality of Paphos, CY