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ARTICLES > HUMOUR


THE GOOD, THE BAD AND THE UGLY: MALTESE ROADS

Tags:   Humour,   Driving

By Johnathan Cilia   -  January 19, 2016


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It is often said that we are lucky, here in Malta, due to the short travelling time needed to get just about anywhere on the island. Those words were probably said by the same people who say that the Maltese are hospitable and generous (it’s kind of true, we do give out free pork sandwiches sometimes).

In between traffic jams, abritrarily levelled speed cameras, and year-round roadworks, we wanted to see what Maltese roads are really made of - unsurprisingly, it is not just tarmac. Take your time reading, there is no rush - some guy double parked his car in a one lane street before going on holiday, so you’re going to be here for a while. Don’t you just love the sweet smell of exhaust in the morning?

The Roads

 

The Good: In these post-CHOGM days, we have some great roads in some parts of the country. There’s that one great road going to Mdina, that second really nice road going to Mgarr, and that other one going to Mellieha. And if you are on the roads at the right time, say about 3am on a Tuesday, you can actually cross the entire country in under an hour.

The Bad: You were looking to step off the beaten path a bit, and have ended up on a private offroading tour. While you may officially be in Zurrieq, your car knows you are actually in Zimbabwe - and your mudguard can prove it. Keep your camera ready for any safari action; spot the wild pickup trucks in their natural habitat, going the wrong way down one-way roads, and bonus points if you see an electric/hybrid car, they are rarely spotted in our savannahs. 

The Ugly: Any bypass, from 7:45 – 9:15am, and 5 – 7pm.

 


 

The Other Cars

 

The Good: Some of them are nice, and they form a protective barrier between you and the other people. 

 

The Bad: The lack of indicator use. Not letting people pass you so as to ease the flow of traffic. Overtaking dangerously. Cruising at 40 km/h in the overtaking lane. Public transport. Parking wherever you feel like (including the middle of the road). Old exhaust pipes on the car in front of you. Getting beaten up by someone when you call them out for flagrantly breaking the law. 

 

The Ugly: In a country where everyone’s nose is in everyone else’s business, what could make more sense than putting your name on your license plate? Actually, scratch that, why not put your laqam on instead? That way, when you park illegally in front of someone’s garage (or directly on a flower bed), all of the Salott will know it was you – and be jealous of how cool you are.

 


 

The Pedestrians

 

The Good: Waiting patiently at a zebra crossing, the pedestrians of Malta will usually walk briskly across the black and white lines when you stop for them, sometimes even waving their hands in a gesture of thanks. Sometimes they might take their time, especially if the crossing is a large one, but you don't mind that much, they are pedestrians after all.

 

The Bad:  Seeing as jaywalking is commonplace in Malta, and there are very few pedestrianised areas in Malta (that one road in Sliema doesn't count) expect people to cross the roads at any given moment - in traffic, right behind a corner you cannot see behind, and even when you're driving at top speeds. Oh yeah, and the onus is totally on you not to kill anyone.

 

The Ugly: No, old man, you can’t cross the street here. No, stop, le, le! I don’t care if you live here and feed the cats every morning, this is a four-lane bypass without a pedestrian crossing, you might die. Oh, you’re going to push ahead anyway? Your hand is now a human stop sign? OK fine, hold up four lanes as you cross, it’s not like we were going anywhere anyway, what with all this traffic and cars parked in the middle of the road.

 


 

The Bikes

 

The Good: Saving the environment, cutting on pollution, cutting fuel costs and daily exercise. Using a bike makes sense from every angle, especially in a small country like Malta. There are some steep hills, and you might end up looking like you just left the shower (in a bad way) when it's hot, but it would seriously help congestion and maybe we can stop being so good at that one thing we are really good at. 

The Bad: While you might be happy with your newly found way of travelling and beating traffic, other drivers will not be sharing your joy. They will get angry when you overtake them, angry if they have to overtake you, and will just be angry in general in the vicinity of your bike. I like to believe they are angry because their subconscious is making them feel guilty for not making use of the various advantages of using a bike, but it’s much more likely that they are just pricks.

 

The Ugly: Trying to ride in the mismatched, sometimes non-existent bike lanes, over rumble strips that hinder more than help, with people giving you bad looks, drowning in sewage when it rains and drowning in your own sweat when its sunny, it’s easy to feel like Malta doesn’t want you to ride a bike. Here’s a video to confirm that statement.

 


The Coast Road

 

The Good: Over 6km worth of pristine road, perfect for a lazy Sunday drive. Just hop in the car you leave in your garage all week in preperation for Sundays and cruise slowly along Malta’s beautiful East coast.

Welcome to the Coast Road, Malta's Most Beautiful Road


The Bad: The Coast Road’s defining feature, a view of the coast, being relegated to a bygone era. Who needs a view of the coast when you have the Coast Road™??


The Ugly: That even though it took three years to build, has a dysfunctional bike lane, and is quite literally metres away from the sea, the Coast Road will still flood at the slightest bit of water, as demonstrated this month when someone spilt a bottle of Kristal while endlessly circling one of the useless roundabouts. This video explains it all (Warning: Vulgar, appropriate humour ahead)



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