Dubai: To ensure that Dubai turns into a bicycle-friendly city, Mattar Al Tayer, Director-General and Chairman of the Board of Executive Directors of Roads and Transport Authority (RTA), and Lt. General Abdullah Khalifa Al Marri, Commander-in-Chief of Dubai Police, have recently conducted an inspection of cycling tracks and pedestrian crossings across the emirate.
The RTA has so far laid out around 425km cycling tracks in areas such as Saih Al Salam, Bab Al Shams, Al Qudra Road, Dubai Water Canal, Jumeirah Beach Road, King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud Street, in addition to recent projects across Al Khawaneej and Al Warqa, as well as joint tracks in Al Qusais, Al Karama and Al Mankhool.
The RTA said the overall bicycle tracks across Dubai will extend to 647km by 2025.
Earlier this month, Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Dubai Crown Prince and Chairman of the Dubai Executive Council, has issued directives to transform Dubai into a bicycle-friendly city.
New laws and legislations will be introduced to promote cycling both as a sport and a means of environmentally friendly transport as Sheikh Hamdan urged authorities “to adopt the global best practices and safety and security measures required to develop a bicycle-friendly infrastructure.”
The directive was also in line with the objectives Dubai Traffic Strategy 2021 that seeks to reduce road fatalities and part of the UAE Energy Strategy 2050s aims at achieving a 16 per cent reduction in carbon emissions by 2021.
Inspection of tracks and bridges
Al Tayer and Al Marri inspected cycling tracks and the pedestrian bridge on King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud Street at Dubai Marina. The bridge stretches 65 metres and handles about 8,000 persons per hour in all directions and is the first 4-way bridge built at the intersection of the King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud Street and Al Gharbi Street, near Jumeirah Beach Residence.
Al Tayer said: “The construction of pedestrian bridges is part of Dubai’s strategy targeting a zero-fatality rate to rank Dubai among the world’s safest cities in traffic safety by 2021. RTA considers certain perimeters when determining the locations of pedestrian bridges in Dubai such as the intensity of traffic, pedestrian accidents and fatalities, speed limit, number of lanes, the movement of people between the two sides of the road, and the nearest pedestrian crossing and bus stops.”
“The number of footbridges constructed in Dubai soared from 13 in 2006 to 116 bridges this year. RTA plans to build other 34 pedestrian bridges during 2021-2026, which will bring the total number of pedestrian bridges to 150,” noted Al Tayer.
“This is part of RTA’s efforts to improve pedestrians’ safety to reduce pedestrian fatalities by 76.5 per cent between 2007 and 2019,” he added.
Al Marri praised RTA’s efforts to upgrade the infrastructure of cycling tracks which are aligned with the deliverables of the ‘Cycling is a Lifestyle’ Innovation Lab recently held in Dubai.
Participants at the event pledged to work towards enhancing safety standards, improving perceptions of bicycle use, promoting the use of cargo bicycles, development of standards and policies, creating dedicated areas for bicycle use and promoting a bicycle renting culture.
The participants also called for developing an infrastructure that not only ensures safety but also provides cyclists a suitable atmosphere to engage in the activity. They also advocated the creation of safer crossings and more bicycle paths, provision of facilities and services on cycling tracks and organisation of events and activities to motivate the public to use bicycles as a mean of transport.