Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 17 October 2019

Dubai Civil Defence officer on trial over road crash death of woman cyclist

Driver's lawyer tells court cyclist team supervisor failed to take safety precautions

A Dubai Civil Defence officer charged with killing a cyclist in a road crash claims the victim's team supervisor failed to take safety precautions that could have prevented her death.

The Emirati officer, 22, was driving an improperly registered Nissan Patrol that was not his on May 23 when the incident occurred, court records revealed.

Mizna Abbullah Ali, a member of Al Wathba cycling team who was out training for the NAS Sports Tournament, died instantly when she was struck by the vehicle.

Emirati lawyer Mohammed Alawami Al Mansouri, defending the officer, told Dubai Traffic Court that the cycling team supervisor had failed to ensure the cyclists were training in dedicated paths.

“During police questioning, the supervisor denied his relation to the cyclists who were training in the Meydan area of the city. He said he was there by coincidence, which is not true. He, however, said so to hide the fact that he violated Dubai Executive Council’s decree and failed to take safety measures by arranging for the cyclists to train in dedicated paths,” said the lawyer.

He said that a resolution had been issued by Dubai Executive Council to regulate the use of dedicated tracks and paths.

According to this resolution, cyclists who are not using dedicated tracks on roads with speed limits not exceeding 60kmph will be fined Dh500 each.

The second lieutenant at Dubai Civil Defence denied a charge of manslaughter, punishable by up to seven years in prison and Dh200,000 in blood money.

He admitted further charges of damaging property, driving a vehicle with an expired licence, making substantial modifications to the vehicle and using tenting above permitted limits on all windows of the vehicle.

The incident happened at nearly 10:35pm on May 23, with police alerted soon after.

A patrol was dispatched to the location where the cyclist’s dead body was found 13 metres away in the left lane of the road from her bike in the middle lane.

The following day during police questioning, the driver said that he was driving within speed limits and not exceeding 120kph when he was taken by surprise as the cyclist appeared less than three metres in front of his car.

“I hit the brakes at once and turned my car towards the right to avoid hitting her but she was accidentally hit by the left side of the car, I can't recall if the bike had rear lights on it or not,” he said.

He said that he called police as well and reported the crash before he was taken into custody

“I was driving safely and not distracted by anything, I don't use the phone while driving, I always use the earpiece, I'm not guilty, the road is not dedicated for bikes,” he told investigators.

The next hearing will be on July 3.


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