Cycling in Malta can often resemble a game of Russian roulette, and this video illustrates the frustration of both cyclists and drivers.
In it, a cyclist who comes within inches of being flattened by a speeding bowser pedals up to the offending driver and furiously confronts him. But instead of apologising, the driver calmly gets out of the truck – and tries to kick the cyclist in the head.
The violent confrontation was captured by the cyclist’s headcam and posted to his YouTube channel ‘Malta Cycle Camera’, which documents near-misses the unidentified cyclist has had while pedalling on Maltese roads.
“You’re busted you a**hole, you’ll be on YouTube tonight. You tried to kill me!” the man can be seen yelling at the bowser’s driver. After the driver kicks and swings at him, the cyclist threatens to call the police – a threat that doesn’t seem to faze the driver.
In an odd coincidence, the two men had already had a similar run-in some months back, although their first meeting had ended without direct confrontation.
That incident was also captured on camera and formed part of a collage of cyclists’ near-misses published on timesofmalta.com and shown on TV programme Times Talk.
Reacting to the video, the driver behind the bowser’s wheel said that the cyclist had instigated the assault.
“The cyclist used an air horn to draw my attention after I had overtaken him and then he started yelling all sort of vulgarities.
“He chased after me and it was then that I stepped out of the truck to confront him,” the driver said.
He insisted the assault was the cyclist’s fault and denied driving dangerously and having nearly run over him.
“I don’t know this person but for some reason it seems we are always crossing each other. I have already spoke to my lawyer about this and will be taking legal action,” the driver said.
Malta has previously been given the unenviable accolade of ‘worst country in the EU for cyclists’ and regularly ranks towards the bottom of bicycle-friendly European nations.
The Bicycling Advocacy Group pointed out that, in many cases, near-misses were often much closer than they appeared on headcam footage, due to the cameras' wide angle perspective.
There were still far too many close proximity incidents, the advocacy group said. It called on the government to introduce a minimum passing distance law to protect cyclists, as was done "in other civilised European countries."