Local eNGO, Rota has elected a new committee for the coming term in its Annual General Meeting. Rota advocates for safer cycling in Malta and has a growing community of around 5,000 members on social media platform Facebook (Komunita Rota). People can join this community group to ask questions about cycling in Malta, help others, or collaborate directly with the NGO to help bring a positive change to the island.

The new committee is composed of Daniel Vella as President, Mark Trapani as Vice-President, Michael Petroni as Finance Officer, Paolo Cassar Manghi as Secretary General, Danielle Duijst as Public Relations Officer, Daniel Ellul as Policy Officer, Benjamin Flores Martin as Events Officer and Juan Buhagiar as an Executive Committee Member.

New Rota Committee 22/23

Daniel Vella believes that this is an exciting time for the committee. He notes that the appointment of the new executive board coincides with the recent appointment of new ministers, namely Dr Miriam Dalli as Minister for Environment, Energy and Enterprise and Dr Aaron Farrugia as Minister for Transport, Infrastructure and Capital Projects. The new executive board welcomes their appointment and looks forward to collaborating with them on matters affecting sustainable mobility in Malta.

Over the past years, Rota has focused on two main pillars – (i) lobbying for better and safer infrastructure, and (ii) community engagement. Rota has managed to bring a positive change to the cycling community, albeit still having a long way to go. Last year, we lobbied effectively for the segregation of the Aldo Moro cycling lane, and this resulted in a safer experience for bicycle users making use of that particular route. Moreover, we also worked on a partnership with the European Commission Representation in Malta, where we organised a safe cycling workshop and also funded Rota’s own pedelec that will be used by people to try it out before making an investment. Rota is becoming more and more relevant as we are now being approached by several entities as a go-to reference for bicycle use on the island.

Nevertheless, there were a number of lost battles for sustainable mobility in Malta with several infrastructural projects lacking the desired adjustments. As a committee, we hope that through effective discussions, the newly appointed Ministers will be more receptive to move in a more sustainable direction concerning mobility in Malta. Safety remains the most concerning issue on our islands and it is the main reason that deters people from cycling.

As part of our mission, we encourage businesses and Local Councils to reach out to us on [email protected] if they need any suggestions on how to make Malta a better and safer place for cycling. We are here to help. People can reach out to us if they need any form of assistance concerning sustainable mobility, such as grants for bicycle racks, advice on routes and any other suggestions for us.

Malta is a small island, in which most commutes are only a few kilometres long. This provides an ideal environment for bicycle use, especially with the use of pedelecs to counter hills and the summer heat. A modal shift will lead to cleaner air, more efficient use of space and safer roads. However, local authorities and government entities must prioritise the bicycle as an effective means of transport and not treat it as an afterthought. The bicycle is not a panacea, but it’s crucial as a remedy to many problems, including urban congestion, air and noise pollution, physical and mental health, and public spaces.