Judge’s call for jaywalking to be made illegal has cyclists worried

The Bicycle Advocacy Group is concerned by Judge Consuelo Scerri Herrera’s call to criminalise pedestrians who ignore safe crossings

The Bicycle Advocacy Group has called for proper road infrastructure for pedestrians and cyclists before any talk of criminalising pedestrians (Photo: BAG)
The Bicycle Advocacy Group has called for proper road infrastructure for pedestrians and cyclists before any talk of criminalising pedestrians (Photo: BAG)

Cyclists are concerned over a judge’s call to make jaywalking illegal, a comment that found the support of the Malta Road Safety Council.

Judge Consuelo Scerri Herrera made the statement in a judgment delivered earlier this week in an appeals case involving a driver who killed a 10-year-old boy in St Andrews.

Scerri Herrera said criminal action should be taken against pedestrians “ignoring a pedestrian crossing or a safer spot along the road”.

Her call found the immediate support of Pierre Vella, the chairperson of the road safety council.

A second photo submitted by BAG showing inadequate pavement infrastructure
A second photo submitted by BAG showing inadequate pavement infrastructure

But in a statement this afternoon, accompanied by photos of inadequate pavements, the Bicycle Advocacy Group said the comments seemed to “incriminate the actions of an innocent 10-year old child, who paid with his life due to the irresponsible actions of a car driver”.

BAG said roads did not belong to motorists alone.

“The group is of the opinion that if the MRSC wishes to see instant changes to render our roads safer, it could push for safer infrastructure for all road users, including decent and accessible pavements and bicycle lanes, speed cameras in notorious roads, and infrastructure that incentivises the use of alternative modes of transport while discouraging the use of the private car,” BAG said.

A third photo submitted by BAG shows a busy street in Birkirkara with extensive damage to a pavement that is still going through maintenance, preventing pedestrians from using it
A third photo submitted by BAG shows a busy street in Birkirkara with extensive damage to a pavement that is still going through maintenance, preventing pedestrians from using it

The group said it had alerted the authorities on poor road safety for pedestrians and cyclists, citing recent works on the Żebbuġ roundabouts and the ongoing works on Tal-Balal road in San Ġwann.

“Whilst BAG agrees that even pedestrians have responsibilities on the road, side-lining and criminalising pedestrians for making use of public roads, especially taking into consideration the lack of safe and accessible infrastructure, is irresponsible and sets a dangerous precedent to relieve the onus from irresponsible car drivers,” the group said.

More in National

Get access to the real stories first with the digital edition

Subscribe