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Are zebra crossings compulsory for drivers?

Are drivers supposed to stop when someone is waiting?

We cross 2 different ones on a busy road every day and not one single time has the traffic stopped unless we force them to by stepping out. I'm not brave enough to do that unless traffic is quite far away but when my husband is with me he is braver - I'm terrified he's going to get knocked over. But otherwise, at busy times we would never get across the road!

If they aren't compulsory then I don't see the point in them at all.

They are. (Almost) no one cares. Welcome to Malta.

Zebra crossings as compulsory as using turn indicators. Or not texting whilst driving. Or not being drunk out of your mind. Meaning:

- If you read the laws then the answer is pretty clear;
- If you ask the general population then they have no idea;
- If you confront the police then you'll get a "Mela, we don't have enough staff to enforce all of it. And we get so much abuse from drivers that we can't do it anyway".

Welcome to Malta ;)

I think I knew the answer even as I asked the question

We were crossing a road in Mellieha last week - I was pushing the pushchair with my little boy in it, my 4-year-old was holding my hand, the traffic lights were red for cars, green for us, so it was clear we were right to cross.. still a pickup almost ran us over, he clearly had no intention of stopping.. when I shouted at him to take care as the lights for him were red, the reply I got was 'go back to your f... country, f... foreigners'. So much for that...

This makes me so mad 😠

As I said before, don't expect other drivers to have any concern for your safety or their own, they have none and apparently cannot comprehend that physics apply even while driving.

There's a reason the bus company is super super keen to get drivers from overseas and why Aviva listed the local driving ability as one of the major reasons they pulled out of the bus contract.

You have to act defensively around every driver in ever situation, rules have no meaning. In Malta in all things, look out for yourself, do not rely on others.

volcane :

As I said before, don't expect other drivers to have any concern for your safety or their own, they have none and apparently cannot comprehend that physics apply even while driving.

There's a reason the bus company is super super keen to get drivers from overseas and why Aviva listed the local driving ability as one of the major reasons they pulled out of the bus contract.

You have to act defensively around every driver in ever situation, rules have no meaning. In Malta in all things, look out for yourself, do not rely on others.

Exactly what we keep telling our son all the time, too.

bernie_iris_fabian_david :

...the reply I got was 'go back to your f... country, f... foreigners'. So much for that...

Such comments are actually pretty common. :(

The Maltese are strange that way - some are extremely helpful and honest, while others seem to absolutely hate foreigners (ripping them off, telling them to f... off, etc). I've never experienced such a strong divide anywhere else.

Don't even get me started on the abysmal state of the driving. There does seem to be a growing concern though, with more and more Times of Malta articles on the subject. The Bicycling Advocacy Group (Malta) on Facebook- though mostly focused on cycling but also pedestrian 'rights' is quite active in writing articles/having meetings with TM/pushing for police enforcement.

mantasmo :
bernie_iris_fabian_david :

...the reply I got was 'go back to your f... country, f... foreigners'. So much for that...

Such comments are actually pretty common. :(

The Maltese are strange that way - some are extremely helpful and honest, while others seem to absolutely hate foreigners (ripping them off, telling them to f... off, etc). I've never experienced such a strong divide anywhere else.

Indeed. Having recently started a site/blog covering expat-related subjects (and therefore, sometimes also the negative aspects), I've started experiencing this first hand on a daily basis.

Unfortunately, quite often the "helpful and honest" people also turn out to be the "f*** off to where you came from", the moment they stop seeing you as a walking ATM, which is often the same moment when they realise that you're a resident (allegedly, "stealing jobs from the Maltese" - another catch phrase that many of them have), as opposed to a tourist.

I'm not saying there aren't any genuinely helpful and nice people around - there are, and lots - but more and more often I'm encountering people whose helpfulness and friendliness is only a mask.

janark :

I'm not saying there aren't any genuinely helpful and nice people around - there are, and lots - but more and more often I'm encountering people whose helpfulness and friendliness is only a mask.

That's true. But then when you think about it... some Maltese have zero respect for their own police officers (unheard of in most countries) or laws. I've seen locals tell police officers to beat it when asked to move badly parked cars, etc.

Then there are the year-round hunters/trappers all over Gozo (I know - we've met sooo many during our 30+ hikes over eight months on the island) and probably some of Malta as well.

So perhaps disrespect (and total disregard for law) in general is just a common trait on the islands.

I've only been here for a month - but had dealings with various Maltese people and organisations for a few months prior to arriving as well.

Most people I've met have been extremely helpful - but so far that's largely been in spirit only. Out of the Maltese people we've been dealing with in terms of applications, advice, support, information etc etc one person has done what they said they would (the property agent), everyone else has made promises and not followed through. Maybe it's just particular to our experience but it's making me feel like the initial interest and kindness is superficial.

We've also had the experience of being ignored when making enquiries, and have had comments made about our nationality.

Specific examples:

1. My husband is interested in learning to fly. He contacted 3 flight schools around 2.5 months ago. Now - this is an enquiry about buying services which aren't cheap - you'd think people would be keen to hear from you. Nope... weeks went past, he eventually got a blunt email from one saying - please call me. He did, left a message - no reply yet.

2. The other day I was getting the bus home from work, as I have done the same way for 3 weeks. As soon as the bus comes round the corner I put my arm out to summon it (as have been told is necessary). Bus pulls in, I get on and the driver starts shouting at me in Maltese. Not knowing what he's saying, I ask him to repeat in English, I get another very loud mouthful in Maltese. At which point, people on the bus start talking amongst themselves and tutting and I hear something along the lines of 'useless Brits'. Mortified.

3. The HR department at my work... don't get me started. A few of you already know I'm unhappy with the support I've been getting, but in summary I was hired for a specific position and was promised support for the move, including guidance in finding property, dealing with the bureaucracy, admin, settling in... etc. None of this has been provided and in fact some of the minimal advice they have given has been wrong. When you see them, they couldn't be nicer and seem so kind, understanding and supportive. Then nothing gets done.

4. My husband has been contacting companies directly about job opportunities, work experience, even volunteering - with a zero response rate. Turns out my manager at work vaguely knows someone senior at one of these companies - he gets in touch with them and gets a response within a few hours. (Oh - so actually my manager has been helpful in this regard so make that 2 people who have helped). The company is hiring at the moment - so why does he get a response but we don't? 

On the plus side, we did have great service from our property agent - which we'd been worried about before arriving. And we feel like our landlord has been fair and respectful, unlike some that we met on our travels. One of whom we are fairly sure was having a conversation in Maltese with the agent about how to either get more money out of us, pan us off with a worse property etc. The agent looked really awkward/embarrassed and got us out of there quickly, told us later that the landlord wasnt being very fair.

Sorry - a bit off topic and a total rant but just wanted to share my experience so far. Needless to say I'm finding things a little hard at the moment.

Can't be sure of the law in Malta regarding Zebra crossings but in the UK the traffic does NOT have to stop until they see you on the crossing. If you are standing at the side they can carry on.
This from the Highway Code says just that (section 3.18 )

http://www.highwaycodeuk.co.uk/rules-fo … to-30.html

felinefine81 :

I've only been here for a month - but had dealings with various Maltese people and organisations for a few months prior to arriving as well.

Most people I've met have been extremely helpful - but so far that's largely been in spirit only. Out of the Maltese people we've been dealing with in terms of applications, advice, support, information etc etc one person has done what they said they would (the property agent), everyone else has made promises and not followed through. Maybe it's just particular to our experience but it's making me feel like the initial interest and kindness is superficial.

We've also had the experience of being ignored when making enquiries, and have had comments made about our nationality.

Shocking  :o Especially the rude bus driver! Agree with 1 & 2, people seem kind but then nothing happens. Or they don't react at all to your enquiries. Sometimes I'm really not sure if I'm a potential customer or a nuisance!

Example: I've been looking for someone to notarise some documents for months now and I've had no response whatsoever except from one notary who told me that at the moment their office is closed due to family mourning. I should 'Kindly seek the services of another notary'. Not even a date when they reopen - just 'go somewhere else'.

In regards to fruitless job applications: Try a foreign company, I've been told they pay better anyway and using a good recruiter should also get you in quicker. What kind of job does your husband want? There's lots of technical and igaming roles in Malta, maybe that would be an option?

bernie_iris_fabian_david :

We were crossing a road in Mellieha last week - I was pushing the pushchair with my little boy in it, my 4-year-old was holding my hand, the traffic lights were red for cars, green for us, so it was clear we were right to cross.. still a pickup almost ran us over, he clearly had no intention of stopping.. when I shouted at him to take care as the lights for him were red, the reply I got was 'go back to your f... country, f... foreigners'. So much for that...

This makes me really mad! What does this have to do with being a foreigner or not? If he'd almost run over a Maltese I'm sure the reaction would be the same if not even worse (they do have heated arguments sometimes!).

I'm lucky, they always stop for me in Naxxar - never had any problem. Maybe it's because of my short summer dresses  :D

blackangelheart he is more of a 'hands-on' worker, rather than an an office worker, I think he'd go insane. But it still needs to be something to keep his mind busy, not just pure manual labour. And nothing on the roads!

He's has a mechanical background, but has also been looking at charity and community work. He loves birds of prey so contacted the centre at Siggiewi weeks ago about volunteering ... you guessed it - no response!

Not concerned about the pay at all, more about filling his time with something he wants to do.

Ray - the crossings we use are on a road with parked cars. So, normally we step onto the crossing at the edge of the road, in the space left by the cars. Stepping out into the traffic is the scary bit - but I'd say we were 'on' the crossing when people aren't stopping,  if the law is the same as the UK.

I fully agree that they don't stop even if you are on the crossing, was just pointing out the actual law.

Ray

F0xgl0ve :

I fully agree that they don't stop even if you are on the crossing, was just pointing out the actual law.

Ray

In many countries (not sure about Malta) you're supposed to stop if a pedestrian is standing next to a crossing (doesn't have to step on it) with the intent to cross. I've been fined for not stopping even though a group of people were clearly just chatting a good meter away from the actual crossing (in other words they had no plans to cross the road - but apparently that doesn't matter). :(

mantasmo :
F0xgl0ve :

I fully agree that they don't stop even if you are on the crossing, was just pointing out the actual law.

Ray

In many countries (not sure about Malta) you're supposed to stop if a pedestrian is standing next to a crossing (doesn't have to step on it) with the intent to cross. I've been fined for not stopping even though a group of people were clearly just chatting a good meter away from the actual crossing (in other words they had no plans to cross the road - but apparently that doesn't matter). :(

At least according to my Maltese driving instructor, it's the same over here. Not 100% sure about the actual law, though.

janark :
mantasmo :
F0xgl0ve :

I fully agree that they don't stop even if you are on the crossing, was just pointing out the actual law.

Ray

In many countries (not sure about Malta) you're supposed to stop if a pedestrian is standing next to a crossing (doesn't have to step on it) with the intent to cross. I've been fined for not stopping even though a group of people were clearly just chatting a good meter away from the actual crossing (in other words they had no plans to cross the road - but apparently that doesn't matter). :(

At least according to my Maltese driving instructor, it's the same over here. Not 100% sure about the actual law, though.

Not in the UK!

Ray

you have to be very careful, most drivers don't care even in the stop light and worst in pedestrian crossing. before crossing the you have to make sure that car fully stop and also the car behind them.

Even crossing with babies or toddlers and you have buggy with you they don't care,that's how its works here.

ielyn

So far my experience has been that drivers have gone out of their way to give way to pedestrians but drive with an open season approach to each other.

Really have no idea where you are walking Vagrant. Literally nearly got knocked over about 15min ago walking home on a quiet street (no pavement) where a speeding car had no regard for pedestrians on the street and missed me by centimetres.

About 20 min before that, walking to the bus stop, a van reversed quickly onto the pavement inches in front of me to make a delivery, forcing me to stop abruptly and then walk on a busy road.

Daily occurrence for me.

It's a joke. Sad.
I always put my hand out in a stop motion and it seems to work... You could try that feline. Better yet, let's make small hand-held STOP and SLOW signs..?! Of course the lack of infrastructure for pedestrians just strengthens the idea that cars can ignore us.

Literally just attacked in the street by a crazy woman who was driving up a one way. I couldn't back up into the rush hour traffic to let her out of this one way she is illegally driving up

She got out and punched me Window - second after rolled it up - and stood there shouting obscenities. 

All this while her kid is in the car. Great example to set and typical for Malta.

Now expecting my car to be keyed tonight.

That's awful! Great example she's setting :(

If we were driving here I'd def want one of those dashcam things, at least for insurance purposes.

As I can see from your recent post, you're getting into the same trap as many others before.
Malta is not what you are used to only cheaper and with more sunshine  :P
Instead this a country with it's own rules, mentality and habits ... either you get used to it (the people won't change because of you) ... or you become frustrated. Even people saying they had low expectations, had expectations at all.

felinefine81 :

Most people I've met have been extremely helpful - .....

Keep focusing on this, try to ignore the rest

1. My husband is interested in learning to fly. .....

He should not write emails, he should call them or go there and it's possible he'll sit in a plane the same day  :top:

2. The other day I was getting the bus home from work, ... of 'useless Brits'. Mortified.

More or less you are writing about 'useless Maltese' - quid pro quo  :D

3. The HR department at my work... Then nothing gets done.

Try to get to know them personally, big difference ... and do not forget: the management promised you this support, but they will not be the one giving it to you  :rolleyes:

4. My husband has been contacting companies directly about job opportunities, work experience, even volunteering - with a zero response rate. ... - so why does he get a response but we don't?

As you for sure have heard many times before, contacts and friends-of-friends are more important than education, skills, experience ... it's a quite small community here (which also has it's advantages) ... also here in this forum it was advised several time to come to Malta with sufficient funds. Do not expect to find a proper job within the first couple of months ... he has to bite the bullet, taking one of the typical low paid "foreigner jobs" and then start looking for something better.

Needless to say I'm finding things a little hard at the moment.

I guess this happend to most of us at the beginning ... and for some of us this has never ended  :D

matm911 I feel the need to address all your points - which I will do tomorrow when I am not so exhausted. But let me say one thing - I am in no way acting in the same way as these people who muttered 'these bloody brits' on the bus. I did nothing wrong. I was on my own and asking a bus driver to explain - yet people heard my accent, or my request for English and so jumped to conclusions. I believe they made nasty comments solely based on this which is at least judgement and possibly racist/nationalist - I don't know the correct phase.

If I have commented on here about the action or treatment of Maltese people since I arrived it is in direct response to a specific action by them. I don't think anyone could disagree with my explanation of the effect  those actions have had on me. Some of these actions are ignorant, some rude, some downright illegal and dangerous... I surely can't be put in the same category as people cursing me for requesting English on a public bus?!

There is and has been a huge influx of foreigners to Malta, many of them with higher living standards and salaries than the Maltese, so of course you'll experience some refusal from time to time (like everywhere else - especially as we could see last year in many countries of mainland Europe). Best you learn a few words and phrases in Maltese ... this also save you money at the vegetable truck  :D 

btw, I just recalled the annual Malta Airshow from 24-25th September 2016
Most of the flying schools will be there providing all information needed and your husband can also check and have a seat in the training aircrafts.

There is a difference between accepting quirks and a different mentality of a new culture and being passive about, as Feline put it, downright dangerous and unacceptable behaviour. The driving habits here (and it is not just Maltese people) are shocking and need to be addressed. Simple enforcement and stricter fines would instantly make a difference.
My mother is Maltese (left in the late 60s) and after a 2-month stint here every winter is more than happy to leave because as she puts it 'nothing has changed'- and she doesn't mean that in a good way! My cousins and their children, for lack of a better way to put it, are educated and of the professional class and would agree with us expats in most of our complaints.
'Ignoring' the things that could be made better (and that the majority of Maltese are also keen to make better) is a pretty defeatist attitude.

To be honest, I do not find it that bad to live here as many other might have experienced  :/

I'm not afraid of driving here even with my scooter and motorcycle. Yes, there are some rude people, but most I met are friendly and helpful. I made the experience, that even most car drivers slow down for me to cross the street or make space when I want to pass (right, there are also exeption). I do not use buses that often since I consider them as a waste of time, but I can remember having good talks during the drive. I noticed the quite low level of some professional skills, but at the end here's not really a market for higher quality - if so, this is also available, but at higher costs.
A lot of other nuisances (politics, corruption, authorities, traffic congestions, construction works, barking dogs, hunters, environment pollution, discrimination etc.) are quite similar as I know from other countries I've lived before, and it will take a lot of time to change them. I do support wherever I can (but only wherever it's convenient for me), but imho this has to be started from the Maltese, since I can always move somewhere else if it's getting too much ... I'm not Don Quijote and eventually this is not my country.

Nange :

My mother is Maltese (left in the late 60s) and after a 2-month stint here every winter is more than happy to leave because as she puts it 'nothing has changed'- and she doesn't mean that in a good way! My cousins and their children, for lack of a better way to put it, are educated and of the professional class and would agree with us expats in most of our complaints.

There are a quite a few Maltese who are prepared to speak the truth about their country, but the majority won't and they still get very upset at any criticism of their beautiful little paradise, even if that criticism is completely valid and justified. Those who do get upset normally conclude their retort with the ever popular "F*** off back to where you came from. If you don't like it here, go somewhere else". Good idea, my flights are already booked.

There was an interesting article written by a Maltese journalist a few years ago, I think it became quite infamous, it's well worth a read, and not just the article itself but all of the comments below it too.

http://daphnecaruanagalizia.com/2012/05 … nesswoman/

I thought that I had a rough upbringing, born in the early '70s and brought up in a council flat in a working class dump in Scotland, I spent most of my summer holidays in a rusty old caravan with an outside communal lavvy. Dead posh, so we were. But at least me and my sister had a bedroom each. And we certainly didn't sleep on straw on the floor!!

I'm not sure that much has changed in Malta in the last 40 years, certainly not in Gozo. Half of the people I see every day, I'm pretty sure that their clothes haven't been anywhere near the inside of a washing machine for years, if ever. "Soap? Shampoo? Sorry, I don't understand. What are these things you talk about?" Ms Caruana's classification of them as savages isn't far off the mark.

I am at Bugibba at present and have met nothing but accommodating drivers throughout the entire Saint Paul's Bay area and Mosta. The streets of Valletta seem to be so overrun with pedestrians that drivers hardly get a look in. After my experience of the UK, the vast differences of reported behaviour, even in such a restricted area, comes as little surprise. In Gloucester road courtesy is the norm while in Hereford they all seem to lean on the horn and drive each other off the road, with pedestrians becoming an endangered species.

On An Island :
Nange :

My mother is Maltese (left in the late 60s) and after a 2-month stint here every winter is more than happy to leave because as she puts it 'nothing has changed'- and she doesn't mean that in a good way! My cousins and their children, for lack of a better way to put it, are educated and of the professional class and would agree with us expats in most of our complaints.

There are a quite a few Maltese who are prepared to speak the truth about their country, but the majority won't and they still get very upset at any criticism of their beautiful little paradise, even if that criticism is completely valid and justified. Those who do get upset normally conclude their retort with the ever popular "F*** off back to where you came from. If you don't like it here, go somewhere else". Good idea, my flights are already booked.

There was an interesting article written by a Maltese journalist a few years ago, I think it became quite infamous, it's well worth a read, and not just the article itself but all of the comments below it too.

http://daphnecaruanagalizia.com/2012/05 … nesswoman/

I thought that I had a rough upbringing, born in the early '70s and brought up in a council flat in a working class dump in Scotland, I spent most of my summer holidays in a rusty old caravan with an outside communal lavvy. Dead posh, so we were. But at least me and my sister had a bedroom each. And we certainly didn't sleep on straw on the floor!!

I'm not sure that much has changed in Malta in the last 40 years, certainly not in Gozo. Half of the people I see every day, I'm pretty sure that their clothes haven't been anywhere near the inside of a washing machine for years, if ever. "Soap? Shampoo? Sorry, I don't understand. What are these things you talk about?" Ms Caruana's classification of them as savages isn't far off the mark.

Probably just as well you have booked your flight ticket to leave!

Ray

I think perhaps anyone who wishes to have a topic to moan about Maltese in general should open a new one, as this one has gone way off topic.

Ray

Hi everybody,

I agree with F0xgl0ve, this thread has gone way off topic and some comments can hurt a particular nationality.

Can we please go back to the subject to talk about : "Are zebra crossings compulsory for drivers?"

If you wish to discuss on an another subject related to expatriation, please feel free to create a new thread on the Malta forum.

Thanks,

Priscilla
Expat.com team

F0xgl0ve :

Probably just as well you have booked your flight ticket to leave!

Ray

Are you jealous Ray? If you think Gozo is so amazing, how come you're thinking about moving to Cyprus soon?  :/  :D

On An Island :
F0xgl0ve :

Probably just as well you have booked your flight ticket to leave!

Ray

Are you jealous Ray? If you think Gozo is so amazing, how come you're thinking about moving to Cyprus soon?  :/  :D

I hate noise and I looked at Cyprus, so I asked someone I know through the forum who moved there from Mellieha about life there. That was a year ago and I am still here in Gozo.

There is a lot of difference in looking at somewhere else and just slagging off Malta and the Maltese, which is totally unnecessary!
As the Maltese might well say (and so would I) Bon Voyage, (that's the polite version!)

Nearly everything you have posted has been negative to the extent that many members thought you were a troll, indeed I thought you had been banned!

However, good luck in your travels!

As this is totally off topic I will not respond to any further posts!

Ray

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