Dubai: The operation of e-scooters will commence in 11 new residential areas of Dubai from the start of 2023, Mattar Al Tayer, Director-General, Chairman of the Board of Executive Directors, Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) announced on Sunday.
With this, the total number of districts in which e-scooters are permitted to operate increases to 21, and the total length of tracks dedicated to bikes, e-scooters, as well as safe and shared routes, rises from 185km to 390km.
“Expanding the scope of operating bikes and e-scooters to cover new districts is in line with the Resolution of the Executive Council No 13 for 2022 endorsed by Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai, Chairman of the Executive Council, regulating the use of e-scooters in Dubai. It supports the efforts aimed to transform Dubai into a bicycle-friendly city and the migration to less-polluting sustainable transport. It also encourages visitors to use alternative mobility means and supports the first and last-mile strategy,” said Al Tayer.
Which are the new areas?
“The new areas where the use of e-scooters will be permitted are: Al Tawar 1, Al Tawar 2, Umm Suqeim 3, Al Garhoud, Muhaisnah 3, Umm Hurair 1, Al Safa 2, Al Barsha South 2, Al Barsha 3, Al Quoz 4, and Nad Al Sheba 1. By operating e-scooters in these areas, the total length of the bike and e-scooter tracks will jump to 390km to serve 114,503 residents of those areas. These tracks relate to main attractions, 10 mass transport stations, and 18 prominent destinations such as public parks and commercial outlets. It will also enhance the first and last-mile journeys and reduce the reliance on private vehicles,” commented Al Tayer.
“The selection of areas and tracks is based on technical studies and data analysis of various Dubai districts to assess them in terms of safety, traffic volumes, the readiness of the infrastructure, population density, and the proximity to metro and public transport stations. RTA collaborates with Dubai Police to ensure compliance with the safety and security standards along with the relevant rules and regulations,” he noted.
“Work is up and running in those areas to finalise the construction of tracks in line with the top international standards of traffic safety. Improvements currently underway in those districts include ground markings, directional signs, and converting internal roads into safe areas by dropping the speed limit from 40km/hour to 30km/hour for the safety of riders,” added Al Tayer.
RTA called on the public to refrain from using e-scooters on tracks that are still under construction to avoid traffic incidents. The construction of tracks at the new districts is progressing according to plan. Signage of e-scooters and traffic markings are about to be completed at world-class standards of traffic safety. RTA also urges motorists to be more cautious when driving inside those districts and observe the speed limits in place.
The initial phase of constructing biking and e-scooter tracks covered 10 Dubai districts, namely: Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Boulevard, Jumeirah Lakes Towers, Dubai Internet City, Al Rigga, 2nd December Street, The Palm Jumeirah, and City Walk. It also covered safe roads and tracks within specific zones at Al Qusais, Al Mankhool, and Al Karama, in addition to 185-km long tracks designated for bikes and e-scooters across Dubai, excluding the cycling tracks at Saih Assalam and Al Qudra.
Free riding permits
Through its website, RTA launched a link enabling interested individuals to apply for free permits for riding e-scooters on safe roads designated by RTA. The process involves attending training courses and passing an online test.
The Executive Council’s Resolution No. (13) of 2022 charted out the technical specifications applicable to e-scooters and bikes, which included a white headlight, red and reflective rear light, horn fixed on the steering arm (T-bar), brakes on the front and back tyres, tyre size must be proportional to the size of the bike, roadworthy tyres for the tracks specified by RTA, and the size of the bike must be proportional to the size of its rider. RTA called on the public to select high-quality e-scooters to avoid battery burn accidents and frequent technical malfunctions.
The resolution also set several obligations on the part of the e-scooter/bike riders highlighted by compliance with traffic regulations and riding the e-scooter owned by individuals and companies or rented for personal purposes only within the permitted areas and tracks declared by RTA. They must not ride scooters/bikes on tracks designated for walking or running. They must not exceed the speed limits fixed for those tracks and avoid riding the e-scooter or any other type of bike specified by RTA on safe roads without obtaining a driving permit
The resolution specified the obligations of the e-scooter/bike rider towards ensuring full compliance with the security and safety requirements set by RTA. It also provided for wearing reflective vests and helmets, maintaining a safe distance from other vehicles and pedestrians, and avoiding pillion riding or anything that causes an imbalance of the e-scooter.
The resolution also called for reporting any incident sustained or caused by the rider that results in injuries or material damage through dialling the specific phone numbers of the Police, Ambulance or RTA unless evidence is provided for the inability to report. Riders should always use the right side of the road and ensure it is empty. Before changing lanes, riders should give hand signals and ensure they can make their move safely. They should always ride in the direction of traffic rather than in the opposite direction. They should only ride on the designated tracks and avoid making major modifications to the e-scooter/bike.
RTA has provided parking spaces for shared e-scooters along the designated tracks and permitted districts, key tourist attractions, and around public transport stations.
RTA called on riders to park the common electric scooters of operators in the designated parking spaces only. Parked scooters should not block the movement of traffic and pedestrians or the use of public parking for vehicles to ensure the safety of riders and road users.