Transport Resolutions for 2019
While the Maltese Islands continue to prosper economically and financially, one cannot ignore the continuous stream of worrying reports related to the environment and personal well-being. Week after week we read reports on the increase in obesity and poor physical health of our population. One cannot ignore the reports of bad air quality, continuous increase in the number of cars on our roads and, notwithstanding the current road widening projects for private cars, the ever-present traffic congestion that has now extended from our arterial roads right into the narrow residential areas of our towns, thus bringing traffic-related pollution nearer to our homes.
It is clear that these issues do not depend solely on infrastructure; there needs to be a culture change within the Maltese community. We must reduce our dependence on the private car, and especially ditch the one-person-one-car habit that is sucking away our living space on these two tiny islands.
To this end, the Bicycle Advocacy Group is proposing the following resolutions for New Year 2019 for the Maltese community:
To reduce the number of kilometres commuted by car by 15 km per week per driver, and instead replace them with walking and cycling trips. This can be easily achieved by walking/cycling a distance of 2.5km to one’s destination and back, three times a week. Once this becomes a habit and the body adapts, the distance can be increased to 20 km per week.
To reduce our car fuel expenses by €10 per month, by walking and cycling to some of our destinations as described above. This can be increased to €20 per month once we get into the habit of walking and cycling more.
Those who would like to lead a healthier lifestyle may do so by increasing their level of exercise by doing some trips on foot or by bicycle instead of by car. At the same time, they would be reducing their car fuel expenses. It is of course highly recommended that one starts to implement the above-mentioned activities after consulting with their doctor or a qualified health practitioner.
One way of starting on these resolutions is by identifying those trips where one is by him/herself and not carrying heavy items, and the distance is relatively short, say 3 - 5 km each way.
We firmly believe that should we all start driving less and walking and cycling a little more, we can improve our general well-being as well as the environment of our country. Fewer cars mean fewer emissions and less noise pollution, plus more free space in our roads that can be transformed to open spaces where we can meet and socialise.