x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 23 July 2017

Terror on two wheels as cars hare round Dubai bicycle tracks

Cars have been seen racing around on the Dubai Cycling Course on Al Qudra Road as well as the 8km loop in Nad Al Sheeba. 

Cars have been seen on the Dubai Cycling Course on Al Qudra Road as well as the 8km loop in Nad Al Sheeba. Jaime Puebla / The National
Cars have been seen on the Dubai Cycling Course on Al Qudra Road as well as the 8km loop in Nad Al Sheeba. Jaime Puebla / The National

DUBAI // Cyclists at Dubai’s first dedicated bike road circuits say they are taking their lives in their hands because of invasions by speeding motorists.

Although Dubai Police have warned the 90-kilometre Dubai Cycling Course near Al Qudra Road and the 8km loop in Nad Al Sheeba are for bicycles only, cyclists say speeding cars are all too common.

Abdul Ghaffar Al Khajah, who drives from Ajman every weekend to use the Dubai Cycling Course, said that recently a white SUV travelling at high speeds came within inches of him.

“For me, it’s too much,” said Mr Al Khajah, 33, an Emirati computer engineer. “I was in shock for the whole day. It was something very scary.”

He said there was also a family using the course that day.

“Kids don’t keep a straight line when they’re cycling and they were lucky,” he said, adding that he now rode in groups for safety.

“You’re supposed to be able to do it yourself. It’s a cycle track, not a car-racing track.

“No one should bother you. A lot of people were there cycling alone that day. After that, I don’t consider going on it alone any more.”

But Mr Al Khajah added: “It’s an amazing track and I appreciate what the Government did for us by giving us a place to practise and have our family there.”

Deniece Wheeler, 33, an education consultant, had a similar experience at the former camel racetrack at Nad Al Sheeba, which was converted into an 8km bike track complete with solar lights and barriers, clearly signposted as a bike-only track.

“There was someone bombing down the cycle track,” Ms Wheeler said. “I could hear it screech behind me. I turned around and it frightened the life out of me – a black saloon car. I am sure they were just joyriding about.”

Ms Wheeler warned other cyclists before she finished her ride.

“It was really dangerous. Someone else posted online the same night a white 4x4 doing the same thing. It’s not the first time.”

Families who have heard about the danger are now reluctant to go down with their children, Ms Wheeler said.

The Roads and Transport Authority, responsible for building the track, referred all queries to Dubai Police.

Police stressed the tracks are off-limits to cars and said they would be investigating the matter.

eharnan@thenational.ae

– Additional reporting by Thamer Subaihi