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Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 16 November 2018

#CycleToWorkUAE: Q&A with Mohammed Al Otaiba: ‘pedalling is a great way to get to know your city, your community’

Mohammed Al Otaiba, editor-in-chief of The National, would like people to think of cycling as an everyday occurrence, rather than being an event. Razan Alzayani for The National.
Mohammed Al Otaiba, editor-in-chief of The National, would like people to think of cycling as an everyday occurrence, rather than being an event. Razan Alzayani for The National.

Ahead of the second annual #CycleToWorkUAE event on Tuesday, January 12, we held a Twitter Q&A session with Editor-in-Chief Mohammed Al Otaiba. During the Q&A, we asked him a few questions about the event and he also responded to tweets from the public. Al Otaiba spoke about working towards changing attitudes, creating a culture of safety and awareness on the roads as well as the benefits of cycling in terms of building a community and getting to know the city better.

The National ‪(@TheNationalUAE‬): How did you come up with the idea of a cycling campaign? #CycleToWorkUAE

Mohammed Al Otaiba (‪@AlOtaiba_M)‬: We had our #healthyliving campaign and this was a natural extension of that. I wanted to energise the UAE cycling culture. Also, pedalling is a great way to get to know your city, your community. Plenty of people are out cycling on the roads. This campaign helps to bring some of those independent movements together to show that cycling is — quite frankly — normal.

Ameera (‪@Ameera88)‬: Good morning. I need to know if will there be a media coverage for the event @AlOtaiba_M? Thanks a lot

Mohammed Al Otaiba (‪@AlOtaiba_M‬): Good morning — absolutely; when and where possible. We also encourage you to post your own pics online and mention #cycletoworkuae

The National ‪(@TheNationalUAE‬): Last year was the first year for #cycletoworkuae, what made you think it should be an annual event?

Mohammed Al Otaiba (‪@AlOtaiba_M‬): It was always intended to be an annual event. We wanted to remind people constantly that cycling is an everyday occurrence. At The National, we see it as our job to educate the public not just about breaking news, but also about campaigns we value.

Dr. Marie Thompson ‪(@Dubai_Psych)‬: I love the idea but the roads don’t seem conducive to #CycleToWorkUAE. Am I missing something?

Mohammed Al Otaiba (‪@AlOtaiba_M‬): Safety is paramount. We want to make sure everyone — cyclists and motorists — are aware of these challenges. This is the number one message we need to get out to the public. But not just on this one day — everyday! Cycling infrastructure is clearly changing — according to DOT expect more lanes to appear over next few years.

Layman Brother ‪(@bananatalker‬): Shouldn’t this be a daily event? if you are serious about it, I mean :D

Mohammed Al Otaiba (‪@AlOtaiba_M‬): Why not? This one day event helps change attitudes and norms for the remaining days of the year.

Dr. Marie Thompson ‪(@Dubai_Psych)‬: Any particular “safer” cycle-friendly roads you recommend in the meantime?

Mohammed Al Otaiba (‪@AlOtaiba_M‬): I hope this is useful news.ae/1IyAdbW. Please share. Here’s a toolkit from the DoT news.ae/1JCFy2a #cycletoworkuae

The National ‪(@TheNationalUAE)‬: Do you think the campaign also raises the issue for drivers that they need to be more careful on the roads? #CycleToWorkUAE

Mohammed Al Otaiba ‪(@AlOtaiba_M‬): Yes, definitely. We are hoping that everyone comes together to look out for each other. We live here and we should show each other respect throughout the year, not just on Tuesday.

There will be another Q& A session with Mohammed Al Otaiba tomorrow at 10am. To send your questions about #CycleToWorkUAE, tweet @TheNationalUAE or @AlOtaiba_M