Friday, September 16, 2016

Danger at the Strand: When will Transport Malta take action to stop this?

Michael Briguglio
- Appears in Malta Today as 'The Sliema Strand has become a cowboy's paradise'-

Yet another terrible accident at the Sliema/Gzira Strand has taken place. 

A 50-year old woman has been run over by a car and is in critical condition. Just a few weeks ago a 26-year old man died after being run over by another car on the same road. 

Such accidents have their own individual merits, and I will not go into this. 

But I want to remind everyone that Transport Malta recently decided to keep traffic lights permanently flashing on amber. The Strand is now a dangerous free-for-all devoid of responsible traffic management.

The official reason for this, and I am quoting  correspondence during this Summer between TM officials and myself as Sliema Local Councillor, was that "The pedestrian crossings along The Strand where switched to flashing amber by order of the Roads Department due to the works at Kappara junction. This was done in order to relieve traffic At the moment we are looking into the option of activating the crossings in the evenings, to at least be able to provide a safe crossing during that time". 

As everyone knows, this was not followed up by TM. So don't hold your breath to wait till the traffic lights are turned to their normal function so as to safeguard pedestrians and cyclists' safety.

TM are also aware of the dangerous situation on the bus lane at the Strand, where cowboys frequently zigzag and accelerate into it at all times of the day so as to avoid traffic. Again, I have been raising this issue with Transport Malta and the press for quite some time, yet TM stubbornly refuses to take action. 

Like many other Sliema residents, I pass from this road every day, and I have never seen wardens or TM officials stop drivers irregularly using the bus lane. Many moons after the authorities were asked by Sliema Local Council on how many tickets were given on this matter in preceding months, we finally received a reply. The grand total number of tickets given was 12. Yes, 12. 

Anyone who frequents the strand that 12 cars abuse the bus lane every five minutes. 

TM's crass irresponsibility has rendered the Strand to a highway of permanent danger.  And let us keep in mind that the Strand is full of other irregularities: ticketing booths, tables and chairs irregularly occupying walking space. Vendors permanently usurping parking spaces. A public car park characterized by private revenue for parkers. 

In short, the Strand is a cowboy's paradise. 

Who will take political responsibility for this?


  1. There is also the dangerous issue of cars that come out from the side road oppositte the bridge, cross the lane in the sliema direction and but into the traffic towards valletta at the end of the long traffic island close to the bridge. Many of them just stop and obstruct the traffic going towards sliema

  2. This is just one more example of the, apparently officially condoned, near anarchy that appears to reign in this benighted island of ours.

  3. As an interim measure one could install traffic cameras which could help identify the behaviours contributing to accidents. I would imagine (a) that parked cars obstruct pedestrian view of the road when crossing and (b) vehicles simply drive too quickly and (c) drivers are often distracted by their mobile phones. All the more reason to install high definition cameras.

  4. On the 19th August BAG emailed TM to ask for clarification as many drivers were simply ignoring the flashing amber lights. We were promised that a press release would be forthcoming. using the bus lane as a cyclist is frankly becoming a nightmare. The other day the normal traffic lane was flowing but occupied. A large SUV honked behind me and squeezed through rather dangerously.

  5. Without going into the merit of this unfortunate accident, I also believe that pedestrians should also be more attentive before crossing the road. Drivers are not always to blame. Having said this I agree that traffic safety should be maintained by transport malta at all costs.

  6. The road doesn't appear to be very well lit and in this case at least, there are other contributing factors including a concentration of catering establishments. The solution would appear to be as follows:

    1. Upgraded lighting. The current monochromatic lighting system produces light in the yellow region of the spectrum, this is optimised for night driving putting pedestrians in the shade so to speak. Bright LED lighting producing less confusing full spectrum white light are almost certainly needed here. This will improve depth perception and visibility.

    2. Barriers to prevent pedestrians crossing except at designated crossing areas.

    3. Installation of CCTV systems for monitoring purposes.


  7. Road fatalities have long been a feature at the Strand. One would need to look at the figures over the past 20 years to make direct comparisons. Flashing traffic lights would certainly seem to exacerbate the existing traffic related risks of this area.


  8. “This was done in order to relieve traffic . ” what ever that means but is clearly the usual case of putting the priority of cars car higher than safety. Any fatalities that have yet to occur will be the fault of TMnd I hope the relatives will sue TM. It s not much better in Sliema where everything is done to faclilitate lazy buggers who are only willing to travel by car. Ditto the stupidity of pelican crossings on the Sliema front .