One road linking Xemxija and Mellieħa is staking a claim to being one of the most dangerous in the country, having seen three deaths and countless injuries in less than two years.
The long stretch of road, which connects Xemxija Hill, Triq il-Mistra, and Selmun Hill, is the only properly equipped road connecting the two localities and is a crucial part of the journey for people visiting Gozo.
What seems like a scenic route that hugs the coastline and cuts through a valley is a potentially fatal road that has claimed countless lives, the most recent being a 30-year-old woman, who died after a speeding car collided with four parked cars along the road. Two 14-year-olds have been taken to hospital.
She was a pedestrian walking along the promenade, a case of the wrong place, wrong time.
Unfortunately, these stories are nothing new. Throughout 2020, at least two people, both motorcyclists, died while driving along the road. Several others almost did.
In April 2021, Lovin Malta spoke to Wane Tabone, a Maltese/British national who served in the UK armed forces as a commando. Tabone was left hospitalised because of a pothole on the long street, one of many that litter the road.
“This road is an accident blackspot, yet nothing has ever been done about it,” Tabone said.
“I am lucky to be alive. I have been riding for 22 years and never had something like this happen.”
The government has slowly begun to address the growing number of potholes in the area. The Xemxija stretch was fixed towards the end of last year after a fatality and a serious traffic accident happened in quick succession. Both were caused by a massive pothole.
However, a series of incidents since then, including the most recent death, indicate that the problems of the road are far deeper than infrastructural issues.
As the main road linking St Paul’s Bay and Mellieħa, the road is used heavily by motorists every day. Crashes and accidents in the area are frequent and often leave traffic at a standstill.
Works are accepted on the road, but questions must be asked whether much more needs to be done to ensure the safety of motorists and pedestrians.
What should Malta do to increase road safety?