The Żebbuġ cycling lane has disappeared, replaced by a ‘shared lane’ intended to be used by both motorists and cyclists.
Popular with both commuters and leisure cyclists, the cycling lane was removed with the widening of Mdina Road between the two main roundabouts in Żebbuġ.
The road, which previously consisted of two lanes – one north and one southbound – now consists of two southbound lanes (towards Qormi) and one northbound lane.
Roadworks seem to be still ongoing, but sharrows, which are markings in the centre of a street indicating that cyclists can use the full lane, have already been painted on the southbound lane.
Sharrows have also been painted on a service road adjacent to the northbound lane.
When contacted, the Bicycle Advocacy Group Malta said it would make its position public once the roadworks were completed, however cyclists and motorists have already voiced concern.
Road users are unsure of how they are meant to share a road with a speed limit of 60 kilometres an hour when bicycles travel at an average of 15 to 20.
Some questioned whether cars were meant to patiently wait behind cyclists or slide into the overtaking lane. Several agreed that sharrows on such a busy road could endanger cyclists’ lives.
Sharrows on such a busy road could endanger cyclists’ lives
Others noted that some cyclists would still use the main northbound lane and not the service road, as they were scared of ‘dooring’ incidents – when motorists open their car door into the route of an oncoming cyclist – something that has proven fatal abroad.
However, if they cycle in the northbound lane, which now has only one carriageway, motorists will definitely not be able to overtake cyclists. If they do, they will end up facing oncoming traffic.
The De Rohan Gate roundabout and the other next to St Dorothy’s School have been rebuilt in a new design, for the sake of improving road safety and efficiency, the authorities said last month.
They explained that the De Rohan Gate roundabout had been upgraded with dedicated bypass lanes to reduce waiting times, while that next to St Dorothy’s School, linking Rabat and Attard to Żebbuġ, was being upgraded with increased approach lanes.ħ