The Malta Independent 6 December 2022, Tuesday
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Efficiency for cars comes first, bicycle lanes will be included if there is space – Minister

Marc Galdes Thursday, 4 August 2022, 10:19 Last update: about 5 months ago

The Minister for Transport, Aaron Farrugia, said the government's primary aim is for roads to be safe and more efficient for cars. Then if there is space for a bicycle lane, it will be included.

The Malta Independent asked him about the cycling NGO Rota and why its proposal for a safe bicycle lane that utilises space efficiently for Mġarr Bypass was ignored.

Farrugia responded by stating that he does not agree with this NGO on the basis that they want to accommodate the cyclist over the cars on the road.

“Our roads are not highways, therefore, either we accommodate the bicycle in the small space that we have or we don’t accommodate it,” he said.

“Until today our aim has been to make sure that our roads are safe, to keep our cars moving at pace and then when we can accommodate bicycles, we will also do this,” he stated.

He made it clear that his primary concern was the cars on the road. He further said that it is not possible to offer more space for bicycle lanes without neglecting the cars on the road.

However, he only focused on the width of the bicycle lane and not on the other problems that arise. When asked about the problem of bicycle lanes not being segregated from the road, or the obstructions that are present, he did not address those issues and continued to stress that nothing more can be done.

Although he claimed to understand the challenges of bicycle users, as he rides a bicycle himself, he continued to stress the idea that there was nothing more they could do to accommodate the bicycles further.

When asked about what happened to the National Cycle Policy, which was launched in 2018 but was never implemented, he responded by saying that the policies are good and well researched, but once again he stressed that in places like Malta, one cannot expect the government to offer more than they are already offering to help cyclists in Malta.

“I understand the constraints of the country. The infrastructure is what it is, the small size of our country is what it is, therefore, one should try to accommodate as much as possible.”

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