Local cyclists are calling for an “immediate solution” to the accidents which they believe have increased since the relaxation of traffic conventions.

Their appeal follows a near miss in which a driver, parked on a double-yellow line at a corner, opened the car’s door onto an oncoming cyclist, who “luckily” swerved and avoided him.

Such ‘car-dooring’ accidents have proved fatal abroad.

Just last year, a taxi passenger fatally knocked a 26-year-old cyclist into the path of a moving van in Leicester when she opened her car door without looking.

A cyclist who spoke to Times of Malta explained that on Thursday, a driver who had parked in Msida on a double yellow line, opened the door wide open on him.

The cyclist urged the driver to look out for cyclists or pedestrians before opening the door.

But instead of apologising, the driver replied that cyclists should keep away from cars.

All you can do is hope for the best and try to keep a certain distance from parked cars

The cyclist told Times of Malta that with people parking their cars haphazardly everywhere, all he could do was “hope for the best and try to keep a certain distance from parked cars”.

But that exposes him to a different hazard: he can be tailgated, hooted at and insulted if he does not keep to the side.

“Raising awareness, education, and a stronger enforcement are desperately needed.”

The Bicycling Advocacy Group spokesman James Wightman explained that this was not an isolated case.

Irregular parking affected all road users, including other car drivers and pedestrians, he said.

The group has recorded an unexplained 75 per cent rise in bike-car accidents in March.

The legal enforcement for six traffic contraventions was relaxed that same month, with only a warning ticket being issued by wardens.

Each subsequent offence in that category does, however, lead to a fine.

“It was bad enough under normal circumstances, but with the additional ‘get out of jail free’ card, it is far worse.

“The only advice we can give cyclists is to ride smart, steer well clear of the door zone, and where necessary, take the full lane.

“We are calling for an immediate solution for this. It’s a ridiculous situation.”

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