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Road safety

George Debono (August 11) referred to my opinion piece of July 10 and considers that I have misled people.

I would like to point out that, paradoxically, the correspondent is now actually correcting himself for previously saying the prevalence of diabetes in Malta is 14 per cent. He now revises this figure down to 9.8 per cent. Is this rate now calculated for the whole population or those over 15?

It is hoped that, eventually, he will recognise the fact that the published prevalence rates in the medical literature are closer to six per cent for the whole population or just under eight per cent for those over 15.

Similarly, he continues to refute the road safety data published by Transport Malta over the years and fails to distinguish between appropriate and inappropriate speed.

It is very challenging for me, as a scientist, to understand how he can state that “[t]here is now agreement that active transport (public transport)… is positively linked to lower rates of obesity and diabetes”.

One understands that it is possible that one may walk further to and from a bus stop than to and from a car park (but, then again, also not). However, to link sitting in a bus to active transport and, especially, to the lowering of diabetes rates is a bridge or three too far for me.

I will not repeat the arguments for and against cycling on major roads. I believe the evidence is clear and unequivocally in favour of separating cyclists and fast traffic and recent data from the Netherlands only confirms my statements.

I would simply like to encourage cyclists to wear a helmet, please. The benefits in preventing fatal head injuries are clearly illustrated widely across the medical literature.

Please, follow the Highway Code.

Take care.

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