Motorcyclists on Cyprus do not accept the ban on bikes and quads that the police implemented on certain roads to control ‘noise pollution’.
On 13 August 2020 the deputy chief of the Cyprus police issued a decree banning the use of motorcycles above 125cc in certain areas at specific dates and times during the holiday season all over Cyprus, due to complaints by various residents about noise and disruption, especially at night.
The Cyprus Motorcycle Rights Club (CMRC), a member of FEMA, issued a written letter of protest to the ministry and the chief of police, stating that motorcyclists are being targeted as a community, due to the problems caused by a few outsiders. CMRC asks the decree to be either cancelled completely or amended, pointing out that a better solution would be intense policing of the areas and the soonest implementation of periodical technical inspections.
Letters of protest were also sent by various motorcycle clubs and organizations affected by the decision, thus making it clear that this was not a well-thought-out plan, lacking communication with the relevant parties involved and lacking any intention of co-operation between the police and the motorcycle community in Cyprus in order to find alternative solutions to this, but also for any other existing or future problems.
CMRC immediately carried out a meeting with the presidents of almost all motorcycle clubs and organisations. It was a big success in participation and in agreement about our course of action.
‘The ban is a clear violation of our basic human rights as free and law-abiding citizens’
CMRC raised the following questions:
- Why should motorcyclists be punished in order to solve the inability of the police department to control a few misfits? The overwhelming majority of motorcycle riders are law abiding citizens, carry a driving license, pay road tax and insurance, and obviously adhere to all safety rules and regulations. We consider this decree unconstitutional and a clear violation of our rights as citizens of the Republic of Cyprus.
- What about citizens who use the motorcycle as the only way to commute to work in the specific areas mentioned in the decree? How can they commute since there is no public transport after 23.00h?
- What about citizens who run a motorcycle rental business as a means of income? How can they survive financially especially after the big hit in economy due to the various COVID-19 restrictions the past few months?
- How can the police justify the noise levels of any motorcycle without the use of a decibel reader? Is this available to them?
- What about the increase of traffic which will occur due to the ban? The use of motorcycles and bicycles is the primary solution to traffic jams.
- What about the noise from bikes and their owners who stage illegal speed competitions, especially at night? How does the police intent to control this problem?
- What about the noise and disruption from large groups of underage people gathering systematically at these specific areas? Many of them also ride motorcycles, but up to 125cc and many of them do not have a license or have modified their bikes to maximise noise to show-off to their peers.
- What about other areas in Cyprus which will have similar problems if the decree takes place, due to the fact that riders will re-route through other areas? Do these citizens have fewer rights than others? What about the noise levels there?
CMRC managed to set up a meeting with the chief of police on 18 August but were disappointed to find out he had only ordered the amendment of the decree. The change was to exclude all rental business and to decrease the dates and times of the ban. CMRC did not accept this; although it is an improvement, it is still a clear violation of our basic human rights as free and law-abiding citizens.
CMRC ‘s president Marios Constantinides (in the middle in the photo) says: “A carefully co-ordinated protest ride was agreed between all motorcycle clubs and organizations. The ride will take place on Friday 21 August 2020 at 19.00 h at the restricted areas in each city all over Cyprus to demonstrate our determination, unity and objection. All of us stand united against this decree and we will continue to protest and object to any order that discriminates against the biker community of Cyprus and puts us on the side lines of society with the stigma of trouble makers.”
In support of the Cypriot motorcyclists’ community, FEMA’s General Secretary Dolf Willigers has written a letter to the chief of police, condemning the bans. Click here to read the letter.
Photograph police officer by WikiMedia Commons.
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