NGOs and activist groups Moviment Graffiti, Friends of the Earth Malta and Rota.mt organised a lie-in and press conference in front of Malta’s parliament, calling out transport and infrastructure authorities as well as Minister Aaron Farrugia.
The protest highlighted ‘the real cost of inefficient public transport, lack of appropriate infrastructure for cyclists and pedestrians, and an illogical car-centric transport system, which is negatively affecting people’s lives and quality of life.’
The protesters highlighted how the transport model being pushed by past and current authorities prioritises private cars at the expense of commuter safety and reliable access to mobility.
At its worst, the NGOs argued, this has caused ‘an unacceptably high number of road incidents and deaths. It has also resulted in constant traffic and congestion problems, severely impairing people’s ability to move from one place to another.’
‘Tried and tested solutions have solved similar mobility challenges in cities and countries elsewhere – both hilly and flat, and with diverse weather considerations – but this will is currently lacking locally for no justifiable reason.’
‘If Transport Minister Aaron Farrugia wants to avoid further deaths on our roads and be remembered as the transport minister that solved our road congestion issues, the way forward is clear. The public has waited long enough, and it is well past the time to walk the talk.’
The groups posed various demands and proposals which could solve these issues, including the publication of standards for pedestrian/cycling infrastructure, a legally binding national cycling policy and the introducing of presumed liability laws to protect the more vulnerable road users.