This morning, a 62-year-old British cyclist who lives in Sliema crashed into a car that was left in the bike lane on the Coast Road.
His injuries were so serious that medics have since confirmed that he has been left fighting for his life.
However, as cyclists and drivers tried to get to grips with the shocking accident and pray and hope for the man’s swift recovery, a few individuals have shifted their focus to what they see as the real priority.
“Will the cyclist be charged for any damages caused to the car? I think not as they don’t have insurance and don’t belong on roads. What kind of person doesn’t see a stationary car?” asked one man online.
“If he dies, he’s going to make the car-owner swear cause he’s ruined his car now,” said another.
The callous response to the crash reveals the bubbling tension between a segment of Maltese society and cyclists.
While it has yet to be confirmed officially, one cyclist has gone on record detailing what he says happened this morning at around 10:30 am on the Coast Road, where the cyclist attempted to overtake the car before crashing.
“Two cyclists tried to overtake the stationary vehicle and a driver passed by very close as if to say ‘you shouldn’t be here’, and when trying to switch lane the cyclist lost control on that stupid rumble strip. In any case, it’s an infrastructural problem and someone has to be accountable for his injuries,” he said.
Cyclists have been complaining that the set up of many bicycle lanes around Malta, some of which feature a controversial central rumble strip that cyclists say does more harm than good, and some are looking to this morning’s incident as proof of that danger.
And this is far from the only bicycle-related incident to cause serious damage to a cyclist.
There is a growing sense among cyclists that, though they are trying to ease traffic, congestion, and be more environmentally friendly, authorities seem keen on forcing cyclists into smaller and smaller pockets of the island, to use possibly unsafe infrastructure, as cars and their drivers remain king of the roads.
“I do empathise with both parties,” said a cyclist discussing this morning’s incident. “I’m quite sure the owner of the vehicle involved didn’t wish for his/her car to break down, and more-so to cause an accident. However, these comments just demonstrate the hatred some people have towards cyclists (or perhaps anyone who doesn’t drive a car) in general.”