Around 140 cyclists gave up their treat of sleeping in on Friday's public holiday and took to the streets for the National Bicycle Ride.
Although the event was organised by Transport Malta as part of European Mobility Week, many cyclists took issue with the authority’s policies and cycling initiatives.
“I only live five kilometres away from my place of work but am too afraid to cycle there,” cyclist Mark Anthony Scotto said, complaining about blind corners on lanes and barely any bicycle access to roads.
Mr Scotto noted that he had cycled through cities like Copenhagen, Berlin and Warsaw and 80 per cent of his bike ride had been on bicycle lanes or other cycling infrastructure.
“In comparison, I cannot even cycle five metres on tiny Malta,” he lamented.
Cyclists also raised concerns on the Żebbuġ cycling lane, which has recently been replaced by a shared lane to be used by both motorists and cyclists.
The road, which previously consisted of two lanes – one north and one southbound – now has two southbound lanes (towards Qormi) and one northbound lane.
Echoing concerns made by the Bicycle Advocacy Group, the cyclists said many were unsure of how they were meant to share a road with a speed limit of 60kph when bicycles travel at an average of 15 to 20kph.
I am too afraid to cycle there
Cyclist Louise Giglio, participating in the National Bicycle Ride for a second time, also echoed concerns that cycling was too dangerous in Malta.
“I cycle three times a week, and it always seems as though car drivers are uninformed of how to behave towards cyclists,” she said.
This is the fifth edition of the National Bicycle Ride. The three-hour bike ride was attended by around 300 cyclists last year, with Friday's rain admittedly dampening the riders’ spirits, Transport Malta manager Ivan Pierre Vella said.
European Mobility Week ended this week, with a national car free day being organised in Sliema and Gżira.