Bikes
A traffic scene in Dubai with cars and bikes in the same lane. Countries like Malaysia, Indonesia and the Philippines have introduced separate lanes for bikers. Image Credit: Archives

I recently read an article on gulfnews.com about food delivery workers and it touched me in many ways, helping me understand their daily struggles and importance of the awareness required when it comes to the safety of others (“A day in the life of a food delivery man in Dubai”, gulfnews.com, August 25). Most importantly, it pushed me to write to Gulf News about something that I have been concerned about on Dubai roads from a while.

A numerous amount of no doubt - helpful and great initiatives were brought to us for our ease in the UAE over the past couple of years. In particular, the services that deliver goods to our doorstep. Most importantly, I am talking about food delivery applications. Whilst making our life easier and granting us time efficient resources, these services also have one thing in common - their means of transport are motorbikes. With this in mind, the number of motorbikes on the road have increased exponentially and unfortunately, may be involved in fatal accidents or other dangerous situations.

I was always subconsciously aware of motorbikes on the road all around us, however, as I witnessed the second accident in a week with a motorbike involved on my way back from work, it then struck me as a recurring issue that needs attention.

In 2018, according to a survey conducted by campaign group RoadSafetyUAE, 77 per cent of delivery riders said other vehicles cut in front of them on a regular basis, with 68 per cent believing that other motorists are inconsiderate to them.

In addition, 17 motorbike riders were killed and 122 accidents took place on Dubai’s roads last year, according to police.

With a fast paced lifestyle in Dubai, the roads and the drivers in the UAE reflect the same, especially on highways that we have many of. As a lot of residential areas are located next to highways with more being built, to reach these places, these bikes have to drive on the fast moving highways, which is extremely dangerous.

I have gone through numerous experiences myself where the bikers change their lanes without indicating or make rash movements on the highways. The difference, in my opinion, between a car and a bike doing that is huge. A car is bigger and hard to miss. In addition, because of the structure of most bikes, the bike rider is most likely to be involved in a fatal accident, no matter whose fault it is.

Time for a solution

Most of these food delivery bike riders are leading a tough life and I am highly concerned about their safety on roads. Highlighting this issue is not to mark these delivered good mediums as a problem but rather to help find a solution to prevent endangering the lives of all the motorists. For example, an idea would be to introduce a track designated for the motorbike riders which would allow these motorists travel and commute safely. This has already been introduced in various parts of the world where the volume of bikes are quite high, some of these countries are Malaysia, Indonesia, the Philippines and parts of the UK.

RTA responds

According to the Roads and Transport Authority (RTA), as per the UAE Federal Law 21 of 1995 concerning traffic, as long as the motorbike is maintaining a valid registration card and plate number from the relevant Licensing Authority and the driver has a valid driving license there is no objection to driving on any roads. The RTA is the transport authority governing the emirate of Dubai which follows the UAE Federal law.

— The reader is a web developer based in Dubai.

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