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Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 26 March 2019

Stay safe, Dubai Police urge cyclists

Col Jamal Al Bannai, acting director of the general department of traffic, said police should encourage people to engage in all forms of sports, such as cycling, as long as safety came first.
Cyclists whizz along Dubai's Nad Al Sheba Cycle Path. Reem Mohammed / The National
Cyclists whizz along Dubai's Nad Al Sheba Cycle Path. Reem Mohammed / The National

DUBAI // Residents looking to lead a healthier lifestyle by using bicycles must exercise caution and avoid using major roads, Dubai Police have warned.

Meanwhile, residents and experts have urged authorities to build more cycle-friendly infrastructure – including bike lanes and bike parking – to help the bicycle culture take stronger roots.

Col Jamal Al Bannai, acting director of the general department of traffic, said the police should encourage people to engage in all forms of sports, such as cycling, as long as safety came first.

“There are intentions by the Road and Transport Authority to establish more bicycle lanes, especially since the sport of cycling has been gaining momentum,” he said.

“However, as it stands, not many roads in Dubai are equipped with cycle lanes and we therefore do not encourage people to take to main roads, but to engage in the sport in designated areas.”

Col Al Bannai also said that cyclists should not use pavements as pedestrians can be injured.

Road-safety expert Roshanara Sait agreed with Col Al Bannai, saying that motorists in the emirate were not accustomed to cyclists.

“Most streets are high speed, allowing motorists to drive up to between 80kph and 100kph and do not have cycle lanes,” she said.

She also urged all cyclists to follow safety procedures by wearing helmets and high visibility jackets.

Dubai resident Disa Tersmeden, 26, said many motorists in the city have no regard for cyclists and pedestrians.

“You can probably try to use your bicycle as a form of transportation, but it would be terrifying because drivers do not expect many people to be on bicycles,” she said. “Like last year with the incident of the Lebanese triathlete Roy Nasr who was killed while riding his bike. It was such a tragedy.”

Mr Nasr, 49, died near Safa Park while cycling with two friends on September 5 after he was struck by a vehicle. The driver of the car had been drinking and was arrested.

Noora Ibrahim, 23, said that by building a more cycle-friendly culture, Dubai residents would start to accept bicycles as a form of transportation.

“It’s definitely a healthier option, and it will encourage people to be more active, but I wouldn’t even know where to put my bicycle if I’m using it to run errands or go to work. I can’t take my bike up to the office,” she said.

“If we had a proper place to lock up our bikes and proper lanes, then it’s something that can be taken into consideration.”

dmoukhallati@thenational.ae

Updated: December 28, 2014 04:00 AM

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