The Malta Independent 11 August 2022, Thursday

Cycling NGO head slams ‘misleading’ statements made by Minister Aaron Farrugia

Marc Galdes Saturday, 6 August 2022, 08:06 Last update: about 5 days ago

Rota president Daniel Vella yesterday slammed the Minister of Transport, Aaron Farrugia, for the “misleading” comments Farrugia made that Rota is only interested in roads being made for bicycles.

“Our message has always been that roads are there for everyone, not just cyclists, everyone,” he said in comments to The Malta Independent.

The minister told The Malta Independent this week that 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.

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He said it is possible to share the road with other forms of transport, including cyclists.

He commented on countries outside Malta which have tried to prioritise cars on the road and failed. Therefore, they opted for alternative models that cater for other modes of transport. However, Malta has ignored these models, which are simple and work perfectly well.

He added how the organisation is “against sacrificing agricultural land for roads,” contrary to another false narrative that is being spread by the Ministry.

Rota is not expecting bicycle lanes to be included on very narrow roads; however, it is possible to include them on wider roads such as bypasses.

He said how the NGO had already shown Infrastructure Malta how the narrowest part of the Mġarr Bypass could be used before the re-construction began. The space could have been utilised a lot more efficiently to include a pavement, safe bicycle lanes segregated with trees and two lanes for cars on the road, without sacrificing any of the road area.

Projects like these “require better planning and a futuristic vision,” he explained.

When asked about the current attitude of the Ministry, Vella stated that “the situation is worrying and it’s not sustainable today. There’s a need for a change”.

He explained that there is a mass of people who can use alternative modes of transport, but they do not because our roads do not cater for any other mode of transport besides cars. As a result, these groups of people are compelled to use their cars.

He expressed his worry that Farrugia does not understand the NGO’s message when he is the main person who can bring about change.

He said that it is Farrugia’s responsibility to think about the future, by offering sustainable forms of transport for people.

 

Read Daniel Vella’s reply to Minister Farrugia here

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