Transport Policy ignores cyclists

Alternattiva Demokratika expresses its strong support for the demands of a group of cycling and bicycle activists, Bicycle Advocacy Group. Together with an improvement in public transport, a serious policy which encourages the use of bicycles for routine travel, including bicycles known as ‘pedelecs’, would help to diminish the many traffic and pollution problems which inflict our roads.

Ralph Cassar, AD Spokesperson on transport, industry and energy, said: “While it seems that Minister Joe Mizzi is determined to implement tangible improvements in the public transport system, one still notes that the Transport Authority still gives almost absolute priority to cars in its policies and operation. It is essential for this authority to help rather than discourage those Local Councils which would like to build an infrastructure to support those who walk or cycle through our streets – such as providing schemes for making residential streets safer.”

“Battery-assisted bicycles – which make cycling more viable for travelling to and from work and for local errands – should be encouraged and not the other way round. According to the European Directive 2002/24/EC, ‘pedelecs’ should be regarded as bicycles, because one has to cycle for the electric motor to help the cyclist, especially when going uphill. Unfortunately we are informed that Transport Malta is inventing all sorts of regulations and restrictions on these ‘pedelecs’ instead of considering how to increase the use of alternative transport which does not pollute. We appeal to the Minister concerned to clarify the Government’s policy on bicycles. We would also like to see tangible incentives for the use of bicycles and ‘pedelecs’ in the next budget.”

“On the subject of mobility, we note once more, that like previous years, the Government is adopting the same attitude towards initiatives such as ‘car free day’. The Government is only offering the meagre sum of 2,000 euros to ten Local Councils in relation to initiatives tied to this day. The paltry sum of 20,000 euros divided among ten localities shows how low a priority sustainable mobility is for the Government.”