‘Poor Road Design Leads To Tragedy’: Rota Calls For Better Infrastructure Following Recent Fatalities
The design of a road can greatly influence user behaviour and safety, environmental NGO Rota has argued while reacting to Malta’s recent fatalities.
Rota addressed this issue in response to a news article featuring a comment by Ivan Falzon, the CEO of Infrastructure Malta.
In a recent article, Falzon discussed the modification of the Mrieħel bypass from two wide lanes to three significantly narrower ones. This alteration, however, has raised questions about the effectiveness of such design changes in promoting road safety and efficient traffic management.
Rota is now questioning the Malta Road Safety Council and the Transport Minister’s roles and actions in addressing this critical issue, especially after the recent tragedy where teenager Kacey Sciberras lost her life.
Two years ago, Rota had proposed an alternative “road dieting” plan for the Mrieħel bypass, opposing Infrastructure Malta’s project to widen it. In Rota’s view, the proposed widening seemed unnecessary and excessive.
Rota’s proposed plan, detailed on their website, suggested narrowing the bypass to create a segregated active mobility route towards Ħ’Attard, whilst utilizing the existing service road for slower traffic and easier access to the industrial area.
Rota highlighted the concern that simply narrowing lanes and adding more lanes in the reclaimed space could be counterproductive. Such a design could inadvertently encourage higher speeds due to the illusion of a wider road, especially at night, and degrade the safety experience for pedestrians and cyclists.
The organisation also drew attention to the fact that there are currently no pedestrian crossings at the crossroads with Triq San Ġwakkin.
This location could serve as a crucial connection point between Qormi village, Mrieħel, and Birkirkara, as it once did before the construction of the bypass in the 1990s.
Rota cited other problematic areas such as the poorly designed bicycle lane in Mgarr, and the lack of direct crossings near the Luqa Airport junction. These examples underscore Rota’s call for proactive, not reactive, road design that incorporates speed-calming measures and considers human error.
They have also raised concern over the record number of fatalities on Maltese roads last year and called for continuous and responsible action from authorities.
What is your opinion on the local authorities’ actions to amend the recent spike in road accidents?