Cyprus Editorial: It might be time to rethink the speed limit

CYPRUS has the second highest rates of speed violations, behind Portugal in the EU, according to a report by the European Transport Security Council’s (ETSC) Road Safety PIN programme. The report found that 63 per cent of drivers violated the speed limit, just one percentage point less than the Portugal figure. Of course, it is difficult to make these comparisons considering that each country has a different speed limit.

For instance, Portugal has a speed limit of 120km/h, whereas the limit in Cyprus is only 100km/h. Lithuania, which has the lowest percentage of drivers exceeding the speed limit, at 19 per cent, has a relatively high limit of 130km/h. It could be said that the important thing was to obey the law regardless of what the speed limit is. Although this is a valid argument it ignores the fact that conditions have changed since the time the limit was put in place in Cyprus.

Cyprus’ speed limit of 100km/h is too low in this day and age, when we have aerodynamic and safer cars with much better road handling and performance than 40 years ago when the speed limit was set. Even more importantly, we have much better roads now with highways linking all of the main towns of Cyprus. In the sixties and seventies, the speed limit was 60 miles per hour (96.6km/h) and there was not a single highway on the island all roads being two-lanes, making overtaking a hazardous business. Despite the drastic improvement in the roads and the safer cars, the speed limit has only been increased by 3.4km/h since the sixties, which is ludicrous.