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Traffic rules and fines in Cyprus

If left-hand traffic means driving on the “wrong” side for you, then you will need to get used to the fact that your steering wheel is on the right side and that you need to change gears with your left hand in Cyprus. First, you might find it very confusing that the traffic on the right side of the road has the right of way... But you will adjust soon.

Traffic regulations

Traffic regulations in Cyprus are pretty much like in any other European country:

  • The speed limit is 50 km/h in urban areas and 80 km/h outside built-up areas
  • Driver and passengers must wear seat belts
  • Kids smaller than 150cm must travel in a proper child restraint. Driving offences can be punished with a fine of €85
  • Driver must not eat or drink while operating a vehicle
  • Blood alcohol concentration limit is 0,3 permille.

If your car is stationary with the engine running, you are in motion according to the local law. If the police give you a ticket for water and sandwich, they will have every right to do so according to the local law.

Driving in Cyprus

Rental cars can be easily distinguished by bright red license plates, so all the road users, including police officers, will see from afar that you are a tourist unfamiliar with the local specifics of driving. For that reason, you will be forgiven minor mistakes. Just keep calm and be polite at all times.

Rule of the road
There are no road signs regulating traffic directions in Cyprus, road marking does the job. It is highly visible and clear, be sure to keep an eye on it! If an additional lane appears unexpectedly before the traffic lights, you will be able to use it only to turn right or left. So, if you need to go the other way, you should not change to the outer lane.

If the traffic lights arrow goes out, leaving only a green light
Give way to oncoming traffic and turn.

Roundabouts
Driving in roundabouts is not often regulated by road signs, so the vehicles that are already within the roundabout have the right of way. Use your right turn signal when entering a roundabout. When you exit the roundabout, make sure to use your left turn signal.

Fines

Speeding fines are rather high:

  • 30% above the limit is €1 per km/h
  • 50% above the limit is €2 per km/h
  • 75% above the limit is €3 per km/h
  • If you exceed the speed limit by more than 75%, the fine amount will be determined by the court.

There are no highway traffic regulation posts in Cyprus, no speed cameras in some districts (e.g. Paphos District), but you can encounter police radars from time to time.

Non-use of seat belts will cost you €85.

The fine for using your phone without a hands-free system while driving is €85.

Operating a vehicle under the influence will result at least in a fine of €200 if the blood alcohol content level is over 1.19 permille. If the driver is not "slightly" intoxicated but totally blind drunk, the fine amount will be determined by the court, and it will be a lot of money even for a rich guy.

If you refuse a blood alcohol test, the case will be brought to trial.

The police do not often perform roadside breath tests in the daytime but their vigilance increases after 10pm.

The Cyprus Police can let you go without punishment for:

  • Wrong-way driving, especially if the vehicle has “red” license plates. No accident, no problem. The police understand that guests might need time to adjust to the local traffic.
  • Driving without documents. Many Cypriot drivers do it. All license plate numbers are in an electronic database, and the theft rate is meager in Cyprus, so chances are you will never be asked to show your documents. But that does not mean that you should not have them with you.

How to pay the fine

Never try to pay to the officer on the spot. This can be considered a bribe. The police officer will issue a ticket, and you have to pay the fine within 2 weeks:

  • At the Town Hall
  • At the police department
  • On the website of the Road Transport Department.

Car accidents

If nobody is injured in a traffic accident, the police will not arrive, and the cars try to leave the scene as soon as possible not to block the traffic. Thus, if you are involved in a car accident, do as follows:

  1. Contact your rental company
  2. Take pictures of the scene: licence plate numbers of the vehicles, damages, braking distance. If you have video evidence from a dashboard camera, save it
  3. Take phone numbers of witnesses
  4. Contact the police
  5. Call your insurance company (you’ll find the phone number in your insurance policy).