Abu Dhabi cyclists say new rules will promote safety, improve sport
Abu Dhabi Police to issue permits to groups who cycle long-distance on roads with speeds exceeding 80 km/hr
The new cycling rules in Abu Dhabi that require road permits for long-distance travel will help promote safety of cyclists and improve the sport, said members of cycling teams in Abu Dhabi.
Abu Dhabi Police had earlier this week launched the electronic road permit service for amateur cyclists. Under this, permits are given to groups who cycle long-distance on roads with speeds exceeding 80 km/hr.
Fahd Salem Al Wahedi, a member of the Rabdan Cycling team, says he is happy with the rules.
“I really liked them. We will have the permits allowing us to use the roads and this will make cycling safer and promote the sport,” said Al Wahedi, a government employee.
“The police will no longer stop us since we will be having permits allowing us to use the roads.”
The 42-year-old Emirati says his team has 42 riders including community and racing cyclists.
Previously they were riding on roads for long-distance travel in groups of 10 or more on Fridays and Saturdays from 5.30am to 8.30am when the traffic is low. “We always have an escort vehicle to protect our riders and to ensure their safety,” he said.
Al Wahedi says the Rabdan Cycling team, which has been there for more than six years, welcomes everyone as long as they can adhere to the safety measures.
Rolf Jager, an Irish personal trainer and cyclist, believes the new rules will encourage others on how to properly conduct a group ride with all safety measures.
“Personally, I don’t think the rules will affect groups that have been together for a long time as they already follow all the safety instructions, but will only need to apply for a permit 48 hours prior to riding,” said Jager, 22.
“The only thing that has changed for me is that I may now avoid riding on roads with speed limits over 80km/h to avoid applying for a permit daily.”
The Irish expat says his cycling group has about 20 riders and they have three distance rides a week.
“Cycling has become extremely popular especially during the pandemic, which is probably the main reason these rules were put in place,” adds Jager.
“If you go out on the roads early Friday morning you are for sure going to see at least one big group of cyclists.”
Abu Dhabi Police said cyclists can submit their applications using their website within a period of no less than 48 hours from the date of requiring the permit.
The move is to preserve the safety of all road users by regulating the use of bicycles in the emirate.
Cyclists have been advised that they must wear helmets, place front and rear lights on the bike, provide an escort vehicle to protect them, equip the vehicle with hazard lights and adhere to safety requirements.
Cycling has become popular in Abu Dhabi and many groups can be seen riding through Yas Island to Corniche through the Saadiyat highway and on Sheikh Zayed Bridge towards Khalifa City and back to Yas Island during weekends.
Several cycling tracks have been built along various roads of Abu Dhabi city and in the suburbs.
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