Cyprus without sustainable mobility: 'I can't even go to the kiosk.' - AbleBook

Cyprus without sustainable mobility: ‘I can’t even go to the kiosk.’

Title: Miranda Lysandrou

Even a ten-year-old child knows that the word “sidewalk” is a compound word derived from the words for “pedestrian” and “road.” Pedestrian-road… The road for pedestrians. Not for cars, otherwise, we would call it a parking space; not for bicycles, otherwise, it would be called a bike path; not for scooters, trash cans, trees, and other obstacles. It is the space for pedestrians. It rightfully belongs to them. And no one has the right to take it over.

We all park on sidewalks. Let’s admit it. Without even feeling guilty. Wherever they exist and are functional, that is, constructed with the correct specifications. Because the local authorities also turn a blind eye. You realize that the excuse of parking for just, supposedly, a minute doesn’t hold up. One minute for you, one minute for me, and the sidewalk is permanently occupied. Forcing pedestrians, whether fully abled or those with mobility issues, to step onto the road at the risk of their physical integrity.

In our country, the illegality regarding the occupation of sidewalks has become the norm, with the tolerance and inactivity of everyone, unfortunately, without anyone to remove the obstacles and enforce order.

The Alpha News program recorded, frame by frame, the problems faced by people with mobility issues in all cities because all of us, shamelessly, block their access. Access not just to a road, not just to a disabled parking space, but access to autonomy, social integration, equality, and without exaggeration, to the right to life.

Our fellow citizens with severe disabilities number 15 thousand. In total, 145 thousand people in Cyprus face disabilities ranging from mild to severe. All these people do not want words of comfort, nor do they need our pity. They need the development of an environment without barriers so that they can move around autonomously. So that they can go to their jobs without risk, accompany their children to school, or go out to eat with their friends without feeling different. Equality is their inalienable right, and ensuring it is our responsibility.

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