Cycle paths will link Dubai communities with beaches, parks and malls
DUBAI // Cycle paths connecting communities to beaches, malls and parks, as well as to metro and tram stations, are part of plans to get people to ditch their cars and rely on pedal power.
The Roads and Transport Authority said it is on target to deliver 900 kilometres of cycle paths by 2020, with interlinked community tracks a key part of the project.
“The Dubai bicycle master plan has a vision for an extensive bikeway network and this will include several residential areas,” said Nasser Abu Shehab, the RTA’s executive director for strategic transport planning.
Bike paths linking Jumeirah to parks, beaches and shops make up one of the routes listed. Bike lanes will also be constructed along the tram route in Dubai Marina and Al Sufouh this year.
There are plans for routes in Al Barsha to connect flats and villas with Mall of the Emirates and Sharaf DG metro station.
The aim is to encourage cycling in residential areas by providing a safe environment, Mr Shehab said.
Regular riders and cycling clubs said families who do not frequent the existing tracks would be motivated to use neighbourhood paths.
“I love the idea, it’s very exciting and will make a huge difference for cyclists when communities open up, it will be amazing for women,” said Emma Woodcock, founder of an all-woman cycling group, Velo Vixens.
“This makes the sport more accessible. Putting the bike on the back of their car and driving to a track makes it less appealing for some women who would like to get on a bike for a ride with their girlfriends.
“For instance, some Emirati women don’t want to drive from Jumeirah for around an hour and come out to Al Qudra track. They don’t want to do long distances. Once we get women out we can get them to start to think about nutrition and fitness.”
The new bike lanes will create a community feeling, enthusiasts said.
“The paths will enable people to be connected,” said Julie Audette, who runs The Movement bicycle shop.
“This will be a strong positive to educate people towards an active lifestyle. It will encourage people to use their bicycles to commute to retail and community shops rather than take the car.”
The RTA has already constructed more than 150km of paths to promote cycling as a hobby.
The most recent 21km Dubai Cycling Track project was announced last month to connect the Al Qudra track to the Nad Al Sheba circuit.
“Dubai is a tourism hub and always wants to be number one,” said Roger Cruickshank, director of strategic transport planning at Atkins.
“In the first phase what the RTA has done is build 100km of cycle tracks like Al Qudra that probably has a few thousand people there over the weekend,” he said.
“They have also recognised the need to get people to those areas easily and get some of these facilities within communities.
“This is the level of development control in masterplans to focus on how to connect the two. In Europe, cycling is part of the culture. Here it’s a bit of a challenge because everyone is used to their car, distances are large but it’s a challenge they want to face.”
Updated: May 22, 2015 04:00 AM