Dubai: At the crack of dawn every day, when 21-year-old Dawood Shah sets out for his gardening work, he has a spring in his steps and a smile on his face. This young man from Peshawar, Pakistan, is able to cover eight homes, all because he traded his humble bicycle for an e-motorbike. Shah is now able to reach his clients without the usual huffing and puffing that he would have done riding a traditional bicycle. He proudly demonstrates his bike’s speed as he steps on the pedal. He carries his lunch box, a few potted plants, some fertiliser bags on his e-cycle and is able to cover a distance of 20km in the seven hours he puts in from 6am to 1pm.
Behold the miracle e-mobike
Gushing about his e-mobike, Shah said: “I am so thankful to this lovely contraption called the Electric Motorbike, which I purchased from the ‘Chinese’ market for Dh940. It was worth every dirham I invested in two years ago. I came to Dubai in 2016 and I had a tough time doing my job as a gardener, cycling from Satwa all the way to Jumeirah 3. I could barely hold down three to four jobs and feel tired cycling to my jobs,” said Shah who thinks the contraption is the best investment since the safety pin.
He continued: “My vehicle does not need a licence. All I need to do is wear a helmet and my phosphorescent green jacket as part of the rules that have been laid down by Dubai Police. I stick to the side roads and by-lanes and am able to cover nine jobs in half a day,” said Shah who starts work at 6am. He said at least five other gardeners he knew owned electric bikes and were happy with them.
More popular than the e-scooter
While the e-scooter may be trending as a fashionable vehicle these days, for the last five years at least it is the humble, sustainable, low-maintenance, environment-friendly e-motorbike or battery-operated electronic bike that has been winning hearts in Dubai. Popular among errand boys, grocery delivery boys and gardeners who do not have to take the highways, the e-bike is faster than a conventional bicycle and helps people deliver stuff and reach places in an inexpensive way.
Sher Alam Khan, 37, has been a gardener for the last 16 years in Dubai. He is thrilled with his electric motorbike, which he bought five years ago. “Initially, when I came from Dir Bara village in Peshawar, Khyber Pakhtunwa region in 2004, I could only work in Al Badaa area where I also shared a room with my community members, as I had to cycle to work. I still live in Al Badaa, but since 2015, when I purchased this electric motorbike it has made my life much easier. On a single charge of the battery for four hours, it can run up to 40km. After charging the battery in the night, I start my work from Al Badaa in Satwa in the morning and am able to cover homes right up to the edge of Al Barsha and return home by lunch time. This has been such a wise investment for me,” said Khan, who earns on an average about Dh350-500 per garden.
Now, with ten villa-gardens to tend to, he is able to earn a tidy sum. Khan lives with his cousins and said most of the younger ones have switched to driving these e-bikes, while his older uncle has invested in a second-hand car. “For the younger boys, who are just beginning their work and need to save, a car is an expensive option. An e-bike is more speedy than a conventional bicycle and is something they can afford,” he explained.
E-bike a source of sustainable livelihood
Indian Mohammad Raouf, 27, from Palakkad, Kerala, works for a neighbourhood grocery and uses an electric motorbike. “I could not get a motorbike licence and would not have landed this job had I not purchased this electric motorbike. The vehicle does not need a licence, is as easy to ride as a bicycle, but is twice as fast. I am able to service it at the local bicycle repair shop. It is so much faster than a conventional cycle, making my delivery job much easier,” said Raouf who prefers the electric motorbike to the e-scooter. “I have tried the e-scooter too, but in that one has to keep standing and riding long distances with delivery parcels is challenging. This bike has space for a pillion rider and a small side basket to carry stuff. I prefer this for running errands. It may not look as sleek as an electronic scooter, but it is definitely preferred for its functionality,” added Raouf who has been working as a grocery delivery boy in Dubai, since 2016.
These electric motorbikes are easily available at auto spare part shops in Satwa or at Dragon Mart. If you want to acquire one of these, you must also keep abreast of the rules to be followed on the road. The rules are similar to that laid out by Dubai Police pertaining to the use of e-scooters or bicycles, which have been framed keeping the safety of the riders in mind. Following are the safety guidelines to be followed in using these electronic bikes.
• Always drive with your helmet and safety jacket on.
• Do not drive the bike against the flow of traffic or on pavements.
• Stick to designated tracks on side roads and not on main roads.