Did you know that bicycles are banned from major roads in Dubai?
Cyclists are even banned to enter the parks in Abu Dhabi as they may disturb the residents who come for a walk. This has also been enforced said Abdul Aziz Al Jeraishi, Director of Parks and Recreational Facilities Division at Abu Dhabi Municipality. He explains that is because “the walkways cannot accommodate such large numbers of cycles” (Gulf News). Al Jeraishi goes on to say, “the cyclists also ride on grass and damage the greenery in the parks;” this has led to the existing ban.
Not everyone has welcomed the enforcement of the ban or supports the UAE cycling laws, as mentioned The National in a post, especially when it comes to banning kids to cycle in the parks; in fact, there have been a few parents (amongst other activists) who considered the restriction unfair and unreasonable. Some wonder if this ban includes a child’s ride on a tricycle!
Nonetheless, the ban helps keep any attempts to make roads and parks safer. Cyclists are asked to ride on dedicated cycle tracks and lanes in order to ensure their safety, said Maitha bin Udai, chief executive of the RTA’s Traffic and Roads Agency. However, as The National mentioned in a post, “Without designated bike lanes, cyclists are forced to risk sharing the roads with drivers or ride on footpaths – if there are any.”
The Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) says to be on target to deliver 900 kilometers of new cycle paths by 2020 in Dubai. Thus, providing those who wish to get around by two wheels (bikes) instead of four (cars) an opportunity to do so freely.
Bike Rules clarified by RTA: “Cycles can be ridden on community area roads as long as the road speed does not exceed 60kph and as long as there are no dedicated cycle tracks.” As per The National, “Those riding on roads with speed limits of more than 60kph face fines of up to Dh600 under the laws.” Meanwhile, “Cyclist groups in Dubai are hoping there is a way to get permits to cycle on certain roads with speed limits above 60kph.
With more people riding bicycles, the ban has come to be disrupting, for many; some locals have concluded that UAE is a bicyclist-unfriendly city, but that is untrue. On the contrary, UAE is actively involved in growing and supporting riding, as part of a healthier lifestyle; the state news agency Wam reported the country is all for riding a bicycle, only at clearly marked cycling paths and safe areas.
Cycling on main roads is not permitted for good reasons. If a biker were to lose control and crash into moving cars, it could lead to injury or, worse, be fatal. However, the parks being off limits for cyclists, rather, is a subject of debate.
Sadly, we witness bike accidents that have led to strict cycling laws in the Emirates. Despite the biking popularity in the UAE, cyclists are now compelled to ride their bikes within the confines of designated bike lanes, not on pedestrian sidewalks or public streets, or risk being fined for violations. That’s right, any cyclist caught breaking any of the road rules could face hefty fines under the laws. Authority could impound bikes for a month, if there are any further repeats of offenses.
As a cyclist, be mindful of UAE Road Safety practices.