Image used for illustrative purposes Image Credit: Ahmed Kutty/XPRESS

Kuwait City: The National Assembly’s Interior and Defense Committee agreed to a proposed bill calling for the implementation of bike lanes, Al Rai reported.

The bill proposes adding an extra lane on the side of the road specifically for cyclists.

The proposal was approved during a committee meeting last week, as it was on the agenda after MP Al Hameed Al Subaie introduced the bill back in January.

Al Subaie proposed the bill after a cyclist, Saad Al Subaie, was killed while biking on the Jaber Causeway bridge on December 17th, 2019.

Another MP, Osama Al Shaheen, proposed a bill back in January 2019 calling on the Public Authority for Roads and Transportation (PART) to implement bicycle lanes.

“The endorsement of this bill will help implement bike lanes that would complement the direction of the new 4th master plan,” Sharifa Alshalfan, an architect and urban planning consultant, told Gulf News.

By Amiri decree, the Kuwaiti government is working on a 4th master plan, otherwise known as Kuwait2040, which will aim to develop Kuwait into a smart city. Part of the master plan is to create transportation infrastructure that will develop Kuwait into a sustainable city.

Safety first

Al Subaie’s death sparked an awareness campaign calling on the government to create bike lanes to ensure the safety of cyclists.

During an interview with Al Anba, Sarah Al Jubail, a Kuwaiti cyclist pointed out that, “there have been many accidents with cyclists in the past. Creating a bike lane will not solve all the problems but it will definitely help ensure our safety.”

Most bike lanes across the world run parallel to the street, as they are simply separated by paint on the floor.

“When designing bike lanes, we need to take into consideration creating barriers from car lanes and to also ensure that when a car door opens a cyclist is not hit,” Alshalfan pointed out.

Mode of transportation

“Designing a bike lane for leisure is different when you design it as a mode of transportation,” explained Alshalfan.

According to a study produced by London School of Economics (LSE), other forms of transportation, including biking, constitutes only 6 per cent of the overall transport mode share.

“For people to be able to use bikes as a mode of transportation it is important that when designing the lanes, they complement the existing transport infrastructure,” Alshalfan said.

Currently, approximately 53 per cent of transportation in Kuwait is private motor transport, all of which are cars. In addition, 41 per cent of the public transport includes taxis, employer buses, transport and buses.

“Bike lanes also means equity for those that are unable to afford a car, biking as a mode of transportation will mean accessibility for most,” explained Alshalfan.