Kids riding quadbike at Al Safa area Dubai. Picture used for illustrative purposes only. Image Credit: Ahmed Ramzan/Gulf News Archives

Dubai: Reiterating safety parameters, the Roads and Transport Authority (RTA), in association with Dubai Police, is stepping up the campaign to force owners of quad bikes to register them.

Annual registration and inspection of quad bikes is already mandatory and not doing so is a punishable offence by law, according to the RTA. The authorities are, however, willing to give more time to quad bikers to fall in line.

“We are trying to help the teenagers who ride the quad bikes to get their vehicles registered. In the last six months, we have got a good response, with dozens of bikes already registered. Our campaign involves spreading the information about registration and taking care of safety measures,” said Ahmad Hashem Behroozian, CEO of RTA’s Licensing Agency.

There have been 10 fatalities in more than 125 quad bike accidents in Dubai over the last four years, and the RTA’s campaign to register the bikes is part of its efforts to regulate their use and reduce the risk factor.

“The regulations on quad bike have been there since 2009, but our initial efforts to control the operations were not successful. In 2011, we reviewed the law and made registration and testing easier,” added Behroozian.

In order to encourage teenagers to register their quad bikes, the RTA reduced the registration and testing fees, which together cost Dh260. The RTA also has made insurance voluntary rather than mandatory.

“We want more and more people to come in our safety ring. If the vehicles are tested and registered annually, we can help reduce accidents that happen due to faulty parts,” Behroozian said.

Once registered, each quad bike will receive a beige colour number plate and the RTA is also putting a few plates online for auction.

“In order to attract the youngsters, we are issuing special number plates and auctioning them online; hope this will get more teens to come and register,” said Behroozian.

The awareness programmes are being conducted in desert areas preferred by quad bike enthusiasts like Mirdiff, Al Warqa and Khawaneej. The programmes are also being conducted at a few government and private schools.

Behroozian said that, unlike light vehicles, enforcing registration of quad bikes is not easy and the RTA is taking the help of the top three agents selling the quad bikes as well as the police.

He said that no fines are currently being issued, but that might change soon.

In order to regulate the sector further, the RTA is working with some firms to set up dedicated quad bike centres in Dubai, where teenagers can go and ride the bikes in a secure environment under the watchful eyes of experts.

As part of the campaign, RTA has also issued special information booklets that detail the registration and testing process, safety equipment required for riding the bike as well as fines for non-compliance.

Talking about the campaign, Major General Saif Al Zafein, Dubai Police Traffic Chief, said a number of people have died due to unsafe quad bikes and called on parents and children to be careful while using such kind of bikes.

Major General Al Zafein said police are closely monitoring the operations of quad bikes and helping to implement enhanced safety measures. “We are cooperating with RTA in the campaign to create safety awareness among public in using quad bikes,” he said.

Though registration is mandatory for quad bikes, that doesn’t mean they are allowed on roads, Major General Al Zafein said, warning quad bikes caught being driven on roads will be confiscated and would not be returned.

A number of teenagers who own quad bikes told Gulf news that RTA officials approached them in Al Warqa area, urging them to register the bikes and explained the safety measures.

“RTA officials asked us to register our bikes within two months and instructed us to wear helmet, vest and other safety equipment,” said a 16-year-old boy who was riding a quad bike with his friend in Al Warqa area last Friday.

He said RTA officials informed them that bikes not registered with the RTA will be seized by the police. He added that RTA officials also said that quad bikes must have plate numbers, ownership documents and must be equipped with safety gear such as a helmet, vest and boots.