By Rayeesa Absal, Staff Reporter www.gulfnews.com
Abu Dhabi: Errant cyclists, who endanger their lives by flouting rules, risk confiscation of their vehicle, Abu Dhabi police has warned.
“Most of the accidents involving bicycles are fatal, which is why it is essential to ensure that cyclists comply with the rules”, Lieutenant Colonel Ahmad Abdulla Al Shehhi of the Traffic and patrols directorate said, explaining the reason behind the campaign.
“Those cyclists who ignore traffic laws will have their cycles confiscated”, he said.
He criticised riders who show no respect for the laws by riding against the traffic, by moving through spaces between vehicles and crossing at non-designated areas.
“Such negative behaviours pose a great threat to their safety, especially since run-over accidents have claimed the lives of many cyclists”.
During the campaign, there will be intensive checking on the streets to nab violators.
Cyclists in the city include those cycling for recreation, as a sport and a form of exercise, as well as those who use it as a means of transportation, he said.
Awareness lectures will be organised to educate riders on how to use their vehicles correctly and to caution them about the dangers of its incorrect use.
Al Shehhi appealed to cyclists to comply with the rules for their own safety and well- being. Explaining the rules, he stressed the importance of wearing a helmet for protection from head injuries. Light reflectors must be fitted on the front and rear of the cycle. During the night, fluorescent jacket must be worn to warn motorists and to enable them to see the cycle in the dark.
He urged those riders who use the cycles for entertainment and exercise to use allocated areas such as the bike lanes along the Corniche.
“Youngsters who perform stunts on the streets, often driving without using both their hands could harm not only themselves but also other road users”.
The law forbids anyone below the age of 15 to ride on the streets, he added.
Meanwhile, residents say that in the absence of dedicated bike lanes in the city, cycling for fun or business is no easy task.
Christian Tyler, a cycling enthusiast, said: “Cycling, just like walking, is a very risky business here. I make sure I follow all the rules but it is still scary as motorists are very impatient at the traffic signals”.
“Remember, how the Mark Pringle, the experienced and trained Australian triathlete, was run-over and killed last year?” he asks.
The campaign is timely, since a majority of the workers riding on the road are seen without any safety gear and often break the rules, he said.
Another resident, Usman Kader who works with an eatery on Hamdan Street agrees that cycling could be dangerous here but admits to breaking the rules himself.
“When it is too hot you don’t have the patience of going long distances to cross the street. There is no other choice”, he said.
Meanwhile, the governments’ ambitious Abu Dhabi 2030 Urban Structure Framework Plan, includes an integrated bike network which will run throughout the city.