x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 24 July 2017

Campaigns on road safety need to continue

Reaers say sustained campaigns are the only way to curbing road accidents in the UAE. Other letter topics: the Great War, safety and security, telephone pranks.

The accident in which a triathlete was hit by a car on Saturday while cycling in Abu Dhabi has sparked outrage among UAE residents. Triathlete Roy Nasr died in a similar accident in Dubai in September. Satish Kumar / The National
The accident in which a triathlete was hit by a car on Saturday while cycling in Abu Dhabi has sparked outrage among UAE residents. Triathlete Roy Nasr died in a similar accident in Dubai in September. Satish Kumar / The National

The arrogance and ignorance of drivers is one of the most worrisome aspects of life in the UAE (Another triathlete cyclist is hit by a car, November 11).

It’s sad to see a place developing so quickly and so well being impacted by the senselessness and ignorance of people when they get behind the wheel.

Drivers seem to have no idea of how to deal safely with cyclists and motorcyclists, passing so close to them as to cause the cyclists to become unstable and causing these horrible accidents.

Having witnessed driver training here, I can say that it needs improvement. Stricter enforcement of road-safety rules is also necessary.

It’s true that police patrols have increased, but that is not a solution to this continuing problem.

I recall growing up in the UK, where endless campaigns such as “Think Bike” and others continuously passed the message of road safety. It is needed here too.

One-week campaigns and one-month roadshows are not of any use. Road safety is a continuing problem and must be continually addressed.

Elias, Dubai

This country needs bike lanes. Drivers can’t be trusted. They can harm cyclists. I feel sorry for Roy Nasr.

Vicki Attoe, Dubai

Article on Great War is timely

As a student of military history, I found John Dennehy’s opinion article Nearly a century on, the effects of the Great War rumble on (November 11) succinct and timely.

He refers to Imperial Germany’s “blank cheque” to the Austrian Empire, which encouraged their invasion of Serbia – the first move in the tragic chain of 1914’s falling dominoes.

In fact, the Serbians had accepted all of the Austrian demands except one (which they were ready to debate) but it was indeed Germany’s support that encouraged Austria to attack and thus, inevitably, to bring in Russia as Serbia’s ally.

One other vital fact is not mentioned, however. A key element of the mobilisation of the German army in 1914 included the fact that it would automatically march across the Belgian frontier, thus (again, automatically) triggering war with France and Britain as guarantors of Belgian neutrality.

Too late, the Kaiser tried in desperation to halt the German advance as he woke up to its implications.

I recommend Barbara Tuchman’s Pulitzer Prize-winning book August 1914 to anyone interested in further reading: 50 years on, it is as fascinating and readable as ever.

Stefan Kemball, Dubai

Progress brings security problems

I have been living in the UAE for more than a decade and I have never felt insecure at any point of time in all these years. I feel more safe here than my home country. I read in The National that Abu Dhabi will implement new security measures (New security rules for public places as Abu Dhabi combats crime and terrorism, November 5).

Even though this country is one of the safest in the world, stepping up security is necessary, because the country is constantly growing and so is its population. Development brings its own problems. People feel safe here precisely because security and safety are given priority by the authorities.

The foresight of the UAE authorities deserves praise.

Sunita Joshi, Dubai

Tough to keep pranksters away

I am writing to bring the issue of prank calls to the notice of the authorities.

Last month I put a “for sale” advertisement on a website. While placing the advert, the site directed me to pinpoint my location and mention my telephone number. It attracted a few genuine inquiries, but one person sounded fishy. After confirming the deal, he reconfirmed my location, which he said he would reach within a few minutes. Soon after, I got a second call from the same person inquiring about my nationality.

I refused to answer and disconnected my phone. Problems started from that time. He gave me another call late in the night and identified himself as an expatriate from Sri Lanka.

Thereafter, I began receiving regular missed calls. When he did not get any response, he started sending me funny messages. Even though I blocked his number on my phone, I decided to report the case to the police.

They were helpful and in front of me called the man and warned him. There had been no problem ever since.

But these people pose a risk to all unsuspecting individuals who give out their details in online advertisements.

Name withheld by request