Local active transportation NGO the Bicycling Advocacy Group are asking the government to revise the policy on the restrictions on pedelecs such as registration and the mandatory helmets rule or else advise what action they will be taking to address the continued fall in ridership in the new year.
The group noted that in 2014 even Italy, one of the poorest performers in pedelecs and one of the European stragglers increased sales by 3%, yet Malta registered a drop of 13% of pedelecs seen on the road in the same year, almost 85% behind the EU’ s leaders like Germany. That coincided with announcements of registration and mandatory helmets for pedelecs in Malta, something unheard of in other EU states.
That downturn hasn’t been reversed in 2015 by the current VAT measures, with pedelec utilization falling a further 0.39%, according to the group’s recent National Bicycle Count figures. That downward trend can only get worse with the introduction of easier licensing to encourage the use of low capacity motorcycles, some of which can be as cheap to buy as a pedelec.
‘We understand that it is vitally important for Malta to make 125cc motorcycles more attractive to reduce parking overload and car congestion, but in levelling the playing field, with what is essentially a bicycle in every other EU state and EU law, pedelecs are being delivered yet another body blow. Pedelec owners and businesses selling them deserve some pretty responsible answers, under the circumstances.’ The group’s PRO Jim Wightman said. The group are asking the government to make it easier to use an environmentally friendly 250 watt pedelec that keeps people healthy and active, doesn’t pollute and is as much as 43 times less powerful than the proposed 125cc scooters on offer.
Those answers need to be made before the 1st of January when the scooter law comes into being. The easiest way is to start treating them as simple bicycles.