A team of Dutch transportation specialists are in Cyprus to attend bicycle workshops in Nicosia and Larnaca aimed at promoting non-motorised transport.
The initiative titled ‘Let’s think Bike’ which is organised by the Nicosia and Larnaca Municipalities in cooperation with the Dutch Cycling Embassy, the Cyprus Tourism Organisation and the Road Transport Department will run workshops Nicosia on December 16-19 in and in Larnaca on December 17.
According to Minister of Communications Tasos Mitsopoulos the workshops are the first step towards creating a detailed plan for complete bicycle networks in both towns.
“The ministry in corporation with cycling organisations and other state services is examining the gradual implementation of comprehensive bicycle networks to promote alternative transport for locals and tourists.”
Mitsopoulos added that the ministry has already met with representatives of Cypriot cycling organisations who along with the Dutch experts will be assisting the authorities in tackling Cyprus’ cycling challenges.
“They will offer advice in the planning procedure while the Dutch experts will provide examples from Holland where cycling is a common mode of transport.”
Following the completion of the workshops, detailed feasibility studies into the creation of a 50 kilometre cycle path in Larnaca and an equally ambitious network in the capital will commence.
“The object of the study is the creation of comprehensive networks that will connect existing routes and include areas of cultural and environmental interest,” said Mitsopoulos.
“The aim is to have a spine that future cycling routes can be added to.”
The cost of the workshops – €20,000 – is being covered by organisers while Livadiotis City Hotel is providing free accommodation for the Dutch experts for five days.
Speaking to The Cyprus Daily, Larnaca Town Planning officer Toula Angelidou explained that the coastal town’s relatively small size and flat landscape are perfect for supporting sustainable transportation methods such as cycling.
“This is a very exciting workshop that marks the beginning of a series of efforts geared at turning Cyprus into a cycling community.”
Commenting on the existing cycle routes in Larnaca, the official said they are extremely popular and will attract even more cycling enthusiasts once they have been connected.
“There are no serious problems with the routes we already have but because they are not joined they only provide a short ride. The final goal is to connect them all to allow cyclists and outdoor enthusiasts to have longer and more satisfying rides.”
The workshops and future plans to create comprehensive cycle routes on the island have received praise from several cycling organisations.