These small electric bikes are becoming increasingly popular in International City among delivery men and residents. Image Credit: Atiq-Ur-Rehman/Gulf News

Dubai: International City residents are calling for regulations on the use of electric bicycles to ensure the safety of all road users.

Electric bicycles — a motorised bicycle smaller than a normal motorcycle — are increasingly becoming a popular mode of transport for delivery services and even for residents who run errands around International City.

The Chinese-manufactured bikes on the road look like delivery boys’ bikes but they run faster. Their maximum speed, according to the manufacturer’s specifications, is 25km/h.

On a random check, however, this reporter drove at about 40km/h in a car to follow one such electric bike. But the rider quickly disappeared in less than a minute.

Steve, 31, a Filipino resident, said he is cautious when he sees these electric bike users on the road as they pose risks to others and even to themselves.

“Because they are small, it’s not easy to spot them right away, especially for heavy vehicles. Sometimes they also change direction without indicating,” he said.

“The internal roads here are very narrow so it’s hard to share the space with them. I am a cyclist; I know I need around 2 metres of space around me to ensure that I am cycling safely. We don’t have that much space here,” he added.

Damsaz Khan, a Pakistani driver who delivers water in the area, agreed but he denied that electric bike users are a nuisance on the road.

“There are those who don’t follow the law while riding but so far I haven’t had any problems with them. My issue is there is no extra lane for them. If there is a dedicated lane for cyclists, then well and good.”

Dinah Dacasin, who lives in the China Cluster where these electric bikes are more common, said she sometimes sees them driving against traffic.

“Not all of them are driving recklessly. But I have seen some who drive against the flow of traffic. So I suggest they learn to observe traffic rules,” Dacasin said.

Unlike motorcycles, these battery-powered bicycles can be bought at Dragon Mart just like any other product without any documents or driving licence, a shopkeeper said.

Lipon, a Bangladeshi delivery boy, said he has been driving the bike for two months now and has had no problems so far.

“For me, this has made my job easier. It’s much better than a bicycle, which I used before. Pedalling makes you tired,” Lipon said, adding, “One charge gives about 32km of mileage.”

Another owner of an electric bike said they are safe to use and convenient. The Egyptian expatriate said he placed a reflectorised vest and a helmet on the bike for use by the rider.

A spokesperson from Nakheel, the developer of International City, told Gulf News that “safety and security are paramount at Nakheel communities. We are aware of this issue and have notified the appropriate authorities.”

Sultan Al Marzouqi, director of the Vehicle Licensing Department at the Roads and Transport Authority (RTA), said his office is already looking into the matter.

“RTA has identified the use of these bikes in International City and as such we are at the moment conducting an investigation in terms of safety, use and regularisation of such vehicles and will take appropriate measures accordingly,” Al Marzouqi told Gulf News.