Dubai: A woman jogging close to midnight in Dubai Marina was stopped by the Dubai Police cycle unit and warned about violating COVID-19 precautionary measures.
After the police cyclist informed the woman about coronavirus restriction orders after 11pm, another driver was stopped by police cyclists to check his movement permit.
This is what cycling enthusiasts will be doing if they sign up to volunteer with the Dubai Police ‘Ride with Dubai Bikers Unit’ initiative.
Gulf News tagged along to one of these recent patrols in Jumeirah Beach Residence and Dubai Marina and found that most people were complying with movement restriction orders between 11pm and 6am.
Colonel Mohammad Ahli, deputy director of the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) at Dubai Police, said the new initiative, allowed volunteers to ride Dubai Police bicycles and spread awareness of the disease and precautionary measures to combat it.
He said the initiative came under a directive by Major General Abdullah Khalifa Al Merri, Commander-In-Chief of Dubai Police, to encourage people to participate in voluntary work as part of their social responsibility.
“The initiative aims to raise awareness about precautionary measures which contribute to preventing the spread of coronavirus. It is part of ‘We Are All Responsible’ campaign launched to support the fight against COVID-19,” said Ahli.
Captain Khalifa Mohammad Al Room, head of the Dubai Police volunteering Platform, said the participant should be physically fit enough to ride a bicycle and have a certificate to prove he or she hasn’t been infected by coronavirus.
“There will be a supervisor on the bicycle teams to ensure their safety with protective gear as well as a paramedic. Participants will be provided with police jackets,” said Captain Al Room.
Volunteers are patrolling JBR, Arabian Ranches, City Walk, Sheikh Mohammad bin Rashid Boulevard and Al Khawaneej areas of Dubai.
“More than 6,000 people applied for the initiative to pedal in certain Dubai locations and share information with the public on the ‘precautionary and preventive measures’ to help combat the COVID-19 pandemic,” added Captain Al Room.
“Volunteers will educate others on the importance of social distancing, wearing masks and gloves as well as complying with movement restrictions.”
However, violators will be subject of Dh3,000 fine if they are caught violating the orders.
Another benefit of the initiative is that volunteers will spread awareness elsewhere when they are off the bike.
“This is what is meant by having community participation to raise awareness as the volunteer will pass his experience to family members and friends,” said Captain Al Room.
Volunteers can only warn the violator and can’t issue a fine. If the violator doesn’t comply with the warning then the policeman escorting the volunteer can step in for action.
“With the passing of time, we’ve noticed the majority of society is complying with precautionary measures to curb COVID-19.”
As well as this the cycle patrols can reach narrow spots and streets in the city that normal police patrol can’t reach.
Shuroq Al Ashkri, a volunteer who went with Gulf News on the ride along, said she felt excited to be joining the voluntary unit.
“It is a very interesting experience because it’s very enlightening to see how the police work and how people respond to the rules. We haven’t seen many people out which speaks a lot about the awareness that’s spread around the country. I’m happy to be part of this initiative,” Al Ashkri said.
More about the cycle unit
166 male and female volunteers from 30 nationalities participated in 560 trips of bikers unit across the city.
Each volunteer will be provided with bicycle gear, masks and gloves.
Dubai residents can apply for the initiative through the Dubai Police website.