Dubai: Cycling campaigners are calling for more awareness on cycling safety after South African triathlete Richard Holland was critically injured in a road accident.
Holland, 30, was riding with full safety gear on the right side of the road when he was hit from behind by a car on October 11. He was still listed as semi-conscious at a Dubai hospital at press time.
The driver now faces legal charges — imprisonment and/or fine, if found guilty.
A provision of the UAE’s Federal Law No 21 of 1995 states that cyclists shall ride bicycles on the right side of the road and are prohibited from riding on pavements. They shall use cycle tracks if available. Currently, it is prohibited to ride bicycles on main roads for safety reasons.
A Dubai Police statement said riding bicycles is not permitted on most roads with a speed limit of 60km/h.
Cycling campaigners believe that a lot more can be done to create safety awareness and improve conditions for cyclists on the roads.
Stewart Howison, founder of non-profit Cycle Safe Dubai, a platform to connect the cycling community and campaign for safety, said, “Richard has zero tolerance when it came to unsafe road practice. He is obsessed with safety.”
Howison explained that the tragic accident has reminded the cycling community about the importance of safety.
“We encourage cyclists to ride in groups, and only on designated tracks.”
By way of advice, he said cyclists should register with the UAE Cycling Federation that not only supports training activities, but includes medical insurance and disability policies.
Wolfgang Hohmann, of the Wolfi’s Bike Shop and Dubai Roadsters group, told Gulf News that though Dubai has done incredibly well in building new cycling tracks, there should be more awareness among cyclists as well as other road users. “There should be better signage on roads where cyclists are permitted,” he said.
Official statistics in the emirate aren’t available on the kind of bicycle accidents (collisions with obstacles, other road users, etc), the crash incidence rate (fatal crashes and others of varying degrees of severity), and the number of cycling crashes.