Cyclists' dangerous encounters (1)

Yet again, someone unfortunately has to fall victim, maybe with a martyr's appeal, so that somebody, somewhere in authority might lift a finger in this country.

Nathan Farrugia was spot on with his letter, as the irony is not when such a tragic event takes place but the fact we manage to return home safely after cycling on our disastrous road networks.

Somebody at ADT must have taken us cyclists for idiots when planning the so-called "cycling lanes" along the Salina Coast Road (which ironically happens to be the best cycling road possible). In no fewer than 10 spots, we find a road sign stating Cycling Lane Ends, then where the cycling lane does not end, driving on it is a standard joke. There are either trees uplifting the tarmac as is the case next to the Buġibba traffic lights, or else the cycling lane is not more than 10 centimetres wide in certain places. On the other hand, where there is a decent cycling lane one has be very careful not to have one of the protruding twigs damage your eyesight. Again there is the very unlevelled tarmac with bumps being a constant hazard which we have to avoid by driving towards the middle of the road, and last, but definitely not least, we have the famous potholes. And this is only half the cycling experience!

We also have to face the cowboys roaming our streets who know very little about the highway code, let alone give right of way to cyclists. And we have the alcoholics who simply drive around whizzing from one end to the other while feeling sure that nobody will ever catch them, as police presence supervising drunk drivers is non-existent. Abroad you would not even dare drive while under the effect of alcohol, while here drunk drivers know that nobody will ever check them out. Then there are the prolific Sunday drivers who drive so close to the pavement they probably expect us to fly over them. And then there are the public transport drivers never bother to stop next to the bus stop, but in the middle of the road, while comfortably selling tickets and causing traffic chaos in the process.

We all go abroad and have all noticed the respect other EU countries have for the average road cyclist. So might somebody in authority please explain to us what we Maltese cyclists have got less than our European counterparts, and why is it that roads being resurfaced and new ones laid by the ADT do not include appropriate cycling lanes, as is happening everywhere else in the civilised world?


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