January 2010

Sunday, 17 January 2010

The Most Dangerous Roads in North Cyprus

We at Pacific Car Hire value our customers and we want you to have a safe and pleasant holiday while visiting us. To that end, we decided that it would be a good idea to tell you a little bit about some of the roadways you will travel while you are on holiday with us. If you are a sensible driver, then you will not have any problems driving while in North Cyprus, especially if you remember our advice when it comes to the most dangerous roads the country has to offer.

Probably the most dangerous roadways in North Cyprus are those that surround the Five Finger Mountains. The mountain range runs parallel to the north coast of the country. The range runs 175 kilometers in length and it is made up of rock that can be generally classified as limestone.

Dolomite and marble can be found here and visitors to the area as well as the shoreline of the north coast will marvel at the fossils that can be found there, including fossils of pygmy hippopotami. It is said that the range was created when two giants were chasing each other millions of years ago. One giant threw the rocks at the other and missed his target, creating the ridge that still today looks like a clenched fist.

Currently there are three main roads that go through the mountains although there are other paths that are used by forestry personnel, walkers and wildlife. The mountains themselves are a natural barrier between the coast and the Mesaoria Plain, and visitors to the area will notice that the vegetation that covers the Fiver Fingers is varied. Pine, Cypress and deciduous trees cover the northern slopes while the southern side is sparsely covered. It is here that many castles can be visited, which makes traveling the roads in and around the Five Finger Mountains a delight.

However, many of the most deadly accidents in North Cyprus happen on these roads. The roads themselves are only two lanes and most of those two lanes are one-line, making passing on the roads very difficult. They are also run by trucks and lorries from sun up to sun down. Because the roads are only two lanes and narrow, navigating in and around them in conjunction with the many larger vehicles makes them hazardous, especially during the wet winter months where rain and sometimes snow is found in these mountains.

Another dangerous road in North Cyprus is the Esentepe Road. The road travels from Kyrenia into the town of Esentepe which is located at the foot of the Kyrenia Mountains. The approach to the town of Esentepe is windy and narrow, making it dangerous even in good weather. But the area itself is well worth visiting as the beaches are spectacular and the shopping enjoyable. There are many new residential developments being built in this area of North Cyprus and the Esentepe Road is seeing more and more traffic every day.

With plenty to do in the area, it is no wonder this road is well traveled. There is a brand new 21 hole golf course just outside of Kyrenia on the Esentepe Road, and in order to see the turtles between May and September you have to traverse this twisting road. And that is before you even stop and add in all of the historical sites that are also found here, such as the castle of St. Hilarion, the Roman ruins and amphitheater at Salamis and the Karpaz Peninsula. If you base yourself in Esentepe, you can also visit Famagusta and Nicosia.

Why is the Esentepe Road considered a dangerous one? This two lane road is a one line, meaning that there are very few places along it to pass slower moving vehicles. Additionally the road is narrow, so if something were to happen to your vehicle there is no room to pull off. Most of the accidents that happen with a North Cyprus Car Hire vehicle happen here. With the narrow road and the amount of construction traffic found on it as the area grows, you simply cannot drive carefully and hope for the best.

If you are going to visit this area of North Cyprus and travel on the Esentepe Road, make sure you take the curves carefully, stay in your lane and do not get close to any truck, construction vehicle or lorry. If they have any problems on the road and you are right behind them, they may not know you are there and an accident could occur if they make a sudden stop.

Finally, the Girne-Lapta Road is another roadway to be wary of when driving in North Cyprus. It is a one line, two lane road that is currently experiencing some very bad traffic congestion. A lot of road rage is seen on this road and careless driving here is the norm. Part of the problem is that this road is one of the main roads that are used by North Cypriots going to and from work. The road is the busiest between 7:30am and 9:00am North Cyprus time and 5:30pm and 7:00pm North Cyprus time. The night time traffic tends to be heavier around the weekends and holidays as many people hit the road for their days off.

There is a Girne Bypass currently being built and as of October 2009 a single bypass carriageway has been opened on the Girne-Lefkosa Road. How long will it take for the Girne-Lapta Road bypass to be finished? No one knows, but once this bypass is completed the congestion on the Girne-Lapta Road is expected to diminish immensely.
Obviously you do not want to miss this beautiful area of North Cyprus during your holiday. You have the option of braving the morning and evening traffic, but we recommend driving before or after the above listed times. It will make your holiday more enjoyable and you will not be subjected to the aggressiveness of the other drivers on the road with you.