Battery electric vehicles ban on Istanbul’s islands stirs debate
The ban on battery electric vehicles on Istanbul’s Princes’ Islands that came to force on Oct. 5 has stirred debate, with some locals complaining persistently, saying they want their right to ride the vehicles back.
Especially tradespeople on the islands strictly oppose the ban.
“I sell water dispensers, wood, coal and gas cylinders throughout this island. How will I carry them with a bike?” asked Cemal Uzun, a grocery owner in Büyükada, the largest of Istanbul’s nine islands.
Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality has imposed a ban on battery electric vehicles on Princes’ Islands in a bid to curb increasing accidents and unauthorized parking at pedestrian-only venues.
“I am obliged to use those vehicles as some of my clients are living on the other side of the island. Also, we use them to carry our elderly clients from their homes to our shops,” Kemal Çakar, a hairdresser in Büyükada, told daily Hürriyet.
The ban has an exception for permanent residents who are over the age of 66 and public officials. The couriers also will be able to ride the vehicles with special permission from the local municipality.
“A regulation is needed. Those who live far, have children or have aged parents need these vehicles,” Ali Albayrak, an islander noted.
Sabahat Akyürek is a Büyükada resident who defends the ban.
“A while ago, I escaped the danger of being hit by three different vehicles,” she said. “The roads in the islands are narrow. I want streets where I can walk freely.”
Engin Çelik, the deputy mayor of the Princes’ Islands, also highlighted the need for the ban.
“More than 12,000 people out of the total population of 16,000 on the islands are above the age of 18. The number of battery electric vehicles has reached thousands. Plus personal bicycles and bikes for rent. The streets of the islands cannot handle such a traffic,” Çelik stated.