UAE | Traffic and Transport

Dubai residents cry foul over jaywalking fines by policemen in plainclothes

Offences should be part of an awareness campaign to help residents know the law

  • By Carolina D’Souza, Staff Reporter
  • Published: 15:57 June 27, 2012
  • Gulf News

Dubai: A few residents are upset over jaywalking fines imposed by policemen in plain clothes.

According to the Dubai Police Traffic Department, policeman in plain clothes are allowed to issue fines after presenting their ID.

Most pedestrian accidents are caused by jaywalking. Earlier this year, Gulf News reported that jaywalking accounted for the majority of all pedestrian deaths so far.

In the first five months of 2012, there were 152 pedestrian accidents, in which 161 pedestrians and 5 drivers sustained injuries, and 14 pedestrian died.

In the first five months of 2011, there were 128 pedestrian accidents in which 140 people were injured including 5 drivers, 1 passenger and 134 pedestrians, out of which 14 pedestrians died.

Gulf News also reported that police advised pedestrians not to cross roads with speeds of more than 80 km/h because they could be held liable for any accidents. Further, jaywalking on any road (excluding the small roads in communities) from undesignated spots is a crime punishable by the UAE Traffic Law with a fine of Dh200.

Residents spoke to Gulf News about the issue of being fined for jaywalking by policemen in plain clothes.

Yvonne Cabral, a resident of Karama and an IT professional, said. “I was stopped by a policeman in civilian clothes near Karama Centre. He was waiting on the other side.”

She said she was appalled the way the offence is being handled. “Not only did he wait for me to cross the road, he was waiting for others to cross as well. He stopped a few people halfway, pulling them back to fine them. What upset me the most was that he asked me to cross the same undesignated patch of road to collect my fine slip [Dh 210] from a parked civilian car.”

Bryan Scott, a resident of Al Nahda, said he heard a man screaming behind him crossing the road near NMC Hospital. “I turned around, but didn’t stop because I didn’t know him. He was dressed in shorts, T-shirt and was wearing a cap,” he said.

When Scott crossed the road to the ATM he was heading for, he was accosted by the same man who led him to a white van parked close by. “He showed me his ID and gave me the fine slip,” he said.

As an expat who moved to the city three months ago, he said he didn’t know jaywalking was against the law. “The law should give residents warnings. In fact, all offences should be part of an awareness campaign. In my case, I would have given the policemen more respect had he been in uniform.”

Cynthia Fernandes and Emmanuelle Milton also had similar experiences in Garhoud and Al Barsha respectively. Fernandes, a media professional, said that she was crossing the area near Motivate Publishing when she was fined. “There is no pedestrian crossing to get towards the City Centre area, and I was ashamed to get caught. Worse it was by a policeman in plain clothes. I probably wouldn’t have crossed if I had spotted the familiar green uniform.”

Milton, an IT manager, said, “I have been fined four times near the Lulu Supermarket area in Al Barsha by policeman in civilian clothes. I usually use this area around 6pm, after work. I would have to walk for almost half a kilometre to get to a pedestrian crossing.”

Roy D’Lima, a professional in the construction field, who has been fined by a policeman in uniform, said he would have been uncomfortable being fined by an officer in civilian clothes. “To establish authority one would need to ask for ID proof,” he said. He added that a man in uniform commands respect, and is in a better position to uphold the law.
To reduce pedestrian deaths on roads, the Roads and Transport Authority has planned 13 more pedestrian bridges at various locations in Dubai, bringing the total number from 74 to 87.

Comments (32)

  1. Added 17:07 June 28, 2012

    Bravo & thank you to the Dubaiauthorities! How many times have i had to slam on my brakes and swerve, nearly causing auto accidents to avoid pedestrians crossing Al Khail Road, Emirates Road, other busy thoroughfares? These people are literally taking their lives in their hands and are a danger to the public. I agree that more crosswalks and pedestrian overpasses need to be introduced, but until that time, pedestrians need to go to recognized - and SAFE - places to cross the road!

    twistedtory, Dubai, United Arab Emirates

  2. Added 16:56 June 28, 2012

    Excellent this is the way to teach the law

    waseem, dubai, Pakistan

  3. Added 16:14 June 28, 2012

    RTA need to install signs and proper crossing options before they start putting fines. Even the police man who issues the fine hops across the road to get to his car and issue the ticket.

    L J Lopez, Dubai, United Arab Emirates

  4. Added 15:33 June 28, 2012

    My friend was also fined while crossing over from Day to Day Karama to the bus stop on the other side of the road. It would take much longer to go to the signal and again walk back and especially in this hot summer season its very hard to do so. The most offensive thing is that in the footpath between roads there are some portions of the footpath that are not fenced, so naturally the public assumes that it is meant for us to use to cross over to the other side of the road. But there are no pedestrian crossing signs ie zebra crossing signs on those portions of roads that lead to the footpath and in Karama specially such portions of footpath lead directly to a bus stop like the one opposite Day to Day and Karama Centre. So naturally people will use this shortcut to cross the road rather than walking to the signal and again walking the same distance back to the bus stop. I feel the RTA must identify such locations of roads and bus stops and provide pedestrian crossing signs on the roads. Also near New West Zone supermarket in Karma near the GPO there is a footbridge that was built years before, and till now the lift in the footbridge is not functional. So again people jaywalk across that road and some get fined. Young people may be able to climb the stairs of the footbridge but in case of those having leg problems/old they cannot and would just directly cross the road, especially in this summer season since the footbrige is not airconditioned. It would be better if the authorities take a note on such issues and have proper arrangements in place before they start to check for violations, because the police who fines is never ready to listen to what you have to say.Awareness must be brought about in a postive sense for people to imbibe it and not in the way of fines.

    ancy, karama dubai, United Arab Emirates

  5. Added 15:02 June 28, 2012

    Instead of fining people the authorities should place "Do Not Cross" sign boards in areas they feel can be dangerous for pedestrians or implement road humps to slow down the traffic, especially in residential areas such as Karama /Bur Dubai, etc...

    Stephen, Dubai, India

  6. Added 14:49 June 28, 2012

    The rules and regulations were built to obey, but there are certain areas where there is no pedestrian signal/ bridge. So people who are in great hurry, due to any reason, they are used to go for this. I myself was fined. But it is a kind request to concerned authorities that plz make something for pedestrian who are suffering a lot during the busy hrs.

    Joy, dubai, United Arab Emirates

  7. Added 14:00 June 28, 2012

    authorities should not only publish campaign in the daily newspapers but also use some advertising materials to increase awareness. let them place on each road where it is visibly seen. close all the gap in between the road anyway that is not mean for crossing, that way people will eventually use the pedestrian.

    L.D., RAK, Philippines

  8. Added 13:42 June 28, 2012

    We would like to have a pedestrian crossing on DOHA ROAD hear emirates driving institute, QUSAIS 1, I am travelling by bus regularly and find it very difficult to cross the road. I hope RTA will do something about this instead of just imposing fine, I have seen children, pregnant woman find great difficulty to cross the road. WE NEED A PEDESTRIAN SIGNAL URGENTLY......

    rita, dubai, United Arab Emirates

  9. Added 13:33 June 28, 2012

    I am not saying that this system is bad but in my opinion the police must focused on those reckless and ignorant drivers who are always felling they are the king of the roads. Practically, these pedestrians are for sure are having a normal life and having a low to medium monthly salary and the police having a tough time dealing with them compare to those reckless drivers driving luxury cars who doesn't care and dont know the meaning of LIFE...

    Voltaire, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates

  10. Added 12:48 June 28, 2012

    Same problem with me as well i paid the fine Police should stop me before crossing they just waiting to for us to cross the Road what i feel is police collecting the fine to Build the bridge otherwise they stop me before cross or any warnning should be given in front of Karama Centre

    Sureshi, Dubai, United Arab Emirates

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