Dubai: Dubai will have some 580 kilometres of cycling and walking tracks on various roads in a bid to encourage people cover short distances without using private cars.

The Dubai Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) has already completed a 1.46-kilometre walkway and cycling track on Jumeirah Beach as part of its plans to encourage walking and cycling culture in the city.

"The walkways have been designed to link pedestrian crossings and metro stations with nearby buildings. Majority of the walkways within the congested parts of the city and commercial areas will be air-conditioned to enable people to use them even during extreme hot weather conditions," said Abdul Mohsen Ebrahim, Chief Executive Officer of the RTA's Strategic and Corporate Governance Sector.

He said the pedestrian walkways would be connected to one another to facilitate pedestrians walk from one area to the other with ease. "We are working on plans to make Dubai as a pedestrian-friendly city and it will have a total of 72 pedestrian crossings by the first quarter of 2010," he added.

The RTA is also working on plans to improve the existing walkways by widening the current footpaths for safety of the pedestrians in the city.

"We considered walking one of the safest transport modes with great benefits. The objective of the RTA is to reduce the dependency of the residents on vehicles for short-distance travels," said Ebrahim.

The RTA has reviewed the available facilities for cyclists in the city and has decided to have parking spaces for cycles in addition to dedicated lanes for cyclists in some parts of the city, especially in the crowded Central Business Districts of Deira and Bur Dubai.

It will also help reduce traffic congestion in busy areas in addition to providing a healthy activity to residents.

The RTA is planning to devise ways to encourage malls, entertainment clubs, schools, colleges, hospitals and other companies in both the public and private sector to provide parking spaces for cyclists according to specified standards.

"We will seek to devise a comprehensive plan for the development of the cycling network that will include laying cycling tracks, providing the requisite facilities and framing guidelines and legislations for the use of bicycles," said the official.

He said the RTA will soon provide parking spaces for bicycles in the souq areas in Deira and Bur Dubai, where a lot of people use cycles. The RTA will also assess the viability of setting bicycle parking spaces near bus stations, metro stations and the Abra stations.

Cycling tracks will be built at different locations as part of the first phase of the project. There will be tracks on Jumeirah Road from the Jumeirah Beach Hotel to Al Diyafah Street, on Al Mina Road, Al Mankhool Road, from Al Diyafah, to Khalid Bin Waleed Street, and the Dubai Creekside.

There will also be cycle tracks along the service lane of Shaikh Zayed Road.

According to RTA figures, there are more than 100,000 bicycles used in city mainly in commercial business districts of Deira and Bur Dubai areas as well as in labour camps

Most bicycles are used as a means of transportation while the remainder is used for purposes of exercise and entertainment.

Currently, cycling is prohibited on main roads and cyclists are also fined for parking their cycles on pavements and locking them up with lamp posts because there are no parking spaces.

Do you know anyone who prefers exercising outdoors? Where do they go? Are there enough safe and open spaces around the city where people can exercise?

Your comments

The second best thing that the city has been blessed with. After the metro, cycle tracks will make certain pockets in the city extremely accessible. It has the potential to be successful, as a major section of the working population is not able to use bicycles due to the lack of regulations, parking and tracks. With close to seven months of cyclable weather, Dubai certainly needed a well regulated system of cycle tracks before anything. Congratulations to Dubai and the Roads and Transport Authority.
Posted: January 25, 2009, 17:58

We live quite close to my husband's workplace, but not close enough for him to walk to it. If the cycling tracks are introduced then it would save him a lot to time that is wasted on the congested roads.
Posted: January 25, 2009, 17:50

It is a great idea but they need to put some roofing to make shadow in summer (like in Singapore where is raining too often). I hope they remember about bike parking next to each metro station.
Posted: January 25, 2009, 15:58

This is great news! The real solution to the problem of traffic lies in the way it is handled. It is a nice step; they must encourage cycling and also provide parking with security in many areas. I ride a bicycle for pleasure and downtown travel but have faced three thefts in two years!
Sheraz Tarar
Posted: January 25, 2009, 14:23

The Corniche is a beautiful place for walking and jogging.But cycling is not possible there.A designated area for cycling comes as a thoughtful move and similar tracks needs to be made in all other emirates too.If walking tracks are made,walking would be safer and taking the car could be avoided for shorter distances. This would help in easing traffic congestion. Also, walking is the best form of exercise, besides the fact that it is free.
Naina Nair
Posted: January 25, 2009, 13:14

This is a very good move taken by RTA. This will help both cyclers and pedestrians.
Rana Amjad
Posted: January 25, 2009, 12:30

I think this is a good initiative.Dubai needs to be more bicycle-friendly. There should be more facilities for parking the bikes too
Posted: January 25, 2009, 12:28

It's a good alternative to transportation. We can save energy and it is good for our health. Don't hesitate do implement this plan!
Posted: January 25, 2009, 11:51

Safe cycling tracks are very important in Dubai, especially near Labour Camps. The residents save time and money.
Mohammad Afzal Al Deen
Posted: January 25, 2009, 11:45

It is very nice of you to build it near a beach. It should be clean and should not allow motorcycles to ride on the path.
Posted: January 25, 2009, 11:36

Great news!! Now I can use my folding commuter bike to get around town.
Posted: January 25, 2009, 10:55

This is a great move from RTA and should have been implemented long ago. It will definitely calm down traffic congestion, especially on Shaikh Zayed Road.
Posted: January 25, 2009, 10:52

These 'walking tracks' or paths as they are more commonly referred to in other countries, should be build as standard in the first place. Well done for the cycle tracks but no celebration for the walking tracks.
Posted: January 25, 2009, 10:32

Public needs a pedestrian crossing on Port Saeed ERoad from Garhoud to Deira City Centre. In the mornings and evenings there are plenty of people who try to cross that road and its very dangerous.
From A Reader
Posted: January 25, 2009, 10:21

Thank goodness for this! In an era of climate change, obesity and decreasing fossil fuel supplies, pedestrian and cycle paths are a must for any modern, forward-thinking city. My dependence on taxis and being unable to walk or ride outside of the area I live in have been the main downsides to living in Dubai and as a cycling enthusiast I've longed to be able to get out there and cycle without fearing for my life. When I do cycle, my clothes end up smelling like petrol fumes so I hate to think what's going into my lungs. Let's hope the RTA makes a big effort to promote both walking and cycling and educates arrogant drivers about the presence of pedestrians and cyclists. (And teach them how to use their indicator lights while they're at it) :)
Posted: January 25, 2009, 10:11

I will say yes, a lot of people prefer to exercise outdoors. There are facilities for the same as well but according to me they are not evenly distributed. Some areas have more than one facility for outdoor activities leaving some areas with none. I would really appreciate the imitative of the RTA for giving more importance to reducing the motors on the road and to encourage the public to cycle and walk which is healthier for individuals. It will in turn create a healthy society and healthy country.
Priju Raj
Posted: January 25, 2009, 10:09

I am looking forward to the day when I can use my mountain bike to travel from Sharjah, Al Tawoun Area to Dubai First Interchange. That would be healthy, cost effective, pollution free contribution to UAE.
Yasar Mansour
Posted: January 25, 2009, 09:22

This is the best decision. It will resolve a lot of issues related to traffic- like depression caused from waiting in traffic, quality time loss etc.
Posted: January 25, 2009, 09:02

Excellent Initiative! I Will buy a cycle and ride it regularly as it is cheap, environment friendly and healthy too. Kudos! Nice Move by RTA!
Posted: January 25, 2009, 08:57

Congratulations to the authorities on this intelligent decision. This decision will put Dubai in level with other cities around the world where you find bicycle tracks all over the place. Very good solution for everyone.
Cadu Hime
Posted: January 25, 2009, 08:45

The movement for making walkways and cycle tracks by the authorities is to be appreciated and this will reduce the traffic. Great decision.
Binu P.D.
Posted: January 25, 2009, 08:38

At last my dream of cycling will come true... This is better late than never.
From A Reader
Posted: January 25, 2009, 08:11

Great plan. It will be useful for middle income group. Using cycles will help avoid traffic congestion and pollution to environment.
Mahesh babu Nagarajan
Posted: January 25, 2009, 07:51