Most of us agree: fuel-powered cars are destructive to the environment, lethal to pedestrians and drivers, and contribute greatly to climate change, but imagining a car-free future is almost impossible to understand.
The benefits of getting rid of cars in a country like Malta are obvious – having cities and towns that can move near and far has led to the next generation of human evolution, but when it comes to incentivizing this. change, we fall very short.
There are a number of reasons that some people are not interested in riding their bikes to work or school, the most prominent being safety on Maltese roads, given that driving style is, for -less, barbarian.
But let’s not just think that a car-free future depends on wheel mobility; there is always public transport, and with public transport comes another issue, that of irregularity in bus schedules and much more. Sure, they provide an important service, but that’s the minimum that is required of them.
There is great interest from residents of all villages who see their streets as pedestrian areas, places where children can roam for free while playing with their neighbors. Almost feeling like a story from the past, Gen Z have little or no idea of what it feels like.
But what is hindering progress? What keeps people from moving forward by curbing a car-dependent society?
Should the government do more? Sure. The construction of half-pulled bicycle lanes by a bypass barely wide enough for a person let alone a bicycle does not exactly give its maximum effort to push people to start using bicycles as a means of transportation.
Increasing the lanes on any given road is not even a wise move forward if we are looking to reduce the dependence of cars on the Maltese people.
Recent studies have shown that countries such as Spain and certain villages in America have reduced their highways and the amount of roads in their villages since it was unsustainable. These places have returned to a less lane mentality 10 years ago – Malta has just started its mega project of adding lanes wherever the government can, even if the land is not theirs.
Will this decision be one of regret in the line? Surely the future is not one dependent on car transport and the sooner decision-makers in this country can realize that, the sooner our mentality as a country begins to improve.
The facts say that Malta needs safer roads for alternative modes of transport and Malta needs to take seriously the issue of properly incentivising these alternative modes of transport. Building a couple of wheel-locking devices at the university is not enough when cyclists have to go through the Birkirkara bypass, circulating just centimeters from the traffic, and in turn risk their lives due to the lack of