Cycling group wants bicycle racks to replace parking spaces

Bicycling Advocacy Group calls on parliament to enact laws to protect against obstruction of bicycle racks

The government should increase the number of bicycle racks across Malta and Gozo and parliament should enact laws to protect against their obstruction, the Bicycling Advocacy Group (BAG) said today.

The group said a survey conducted among local councils three years ago had discovered that only 40% of the localities had cycles racks with an average capacity of just four bicycles, while 80% of councils complained of severe congestion and parking problems.

The group said that while some local councils, such as that of Sliema, addressed the issue by installing new bicycle racks, the lack of racks in other areas has persisted.

“While the number of cyclists remains small when compared to other countries, local initiatives clearly indicate a steady increase over the last three years. However, one of the problems is that once cyclists arrive at their destination, it is impossible to find a rack where a bicycle can be locked to,” the group argued.

“If local councils replaced one car parking space with a bicycle rack they could cater for 20 bicycles and potentially increase car parking capacity by 19 spaces,” it said.

The BAG insisted that local councils must give bicycle parking top priority to encourage bicycle use and reduce car use and parking problems.

The group also said that to add insult to injury, bicycle racks often end up being obstructed by hawkers or vehicles, while theft of bicycles had become an increasing problem.

“While the law is very clear on not obstructing car parking spaces, it is unclear about bicycle parking infrastructures. If we want to encourage people to give up their cars for short trips to help traffic congestion, parking overload and better health, then we need to encourage them,” it continued.