UAE: Cyclists, pedestrians on a collision course over use of walkways, bike lanes

Ismail Sebugwaawo /Abu Dhabi Filed on May 20, 2021
— Supplied photo

Pedestrians complain that cyclists using walking tracks pose danger to their safety while riders say bike lanes are crowded by pedestrians

Cyclists in Abu Dhabi have raised their concern about pedestrians leaving walkways and using cycling tracks.

Enthusiast riders complained that they are often bothered by pedestrians who are frequently using the green tracks meant for cyclists that, at times, leads to heated arguments.

The complaint comes in the wake of a recent report in Khaleej Times about pedestrians in Abu Dhabi expressing their unhappiness about cyclists and e-scooter riders misusing pedestrian crossings and walkways in the UAE’s capital city.

The residents said cyclists and e-scooter riders using areas designated for pedestrians pose a danger to their safety. Some of these cyclists are reckless and don’t respect pedestrians who use these walkways, they alleged.

Some cyclists responded to the complaints and said they endeavour to follow the rules because they are equally keen on public safety.

But it is a good thing if pedestrians, too, stick to their walkways and leave the cycling tracks for riders, e-scooters and runners, they maintained.

Imad Alhasan, a cyclist, said he and his friends always ride on roads and cycling tracks while following the rules.

“Cyclists are also suffering because of the pedestrians who are frequently using the lanes for bikes,” he said.

“The green tracks are dedicated for cyclists, but it’s really disturbing when too many people are walking on these tracks which, at times, limits our sporting activities. It also causes conflicts with the pedestrians,” said Alhasan.

Alhasan said that people walking should limit their use of the cycling tracks and leave them to cyclists, e-scooters, and those who are into running and other outdoor fitness activities.

Christopher, a Filipino cyclist, said he has a passion for public safety and not just for cyclists.

“Pedestrians, cyclists and other road users must all follow the rules and need to respect each other while using the pathways,” he said.

“We often come across pedestrians using the tracks designated for cyclists and they don’t want to give way to riders, which is a bad habit,” he added.

Renier Rooyen, a South African national, said it should be noted that many pedestrians are just at fault.

“People need to be aware not to walk in a scooter or bike lane when they have the rest of the sidewalk to walk on, forcing scooter riders or cyclists to either stop or swerve onto the sidewalk out of their dedicated lanes,” he argued.

“I agree with crossings, get off and walk across. I am an e-scooter rider myself. The world seems to be lacking in mutual respect for each other, and basic manners,” he added.

The Abu Dhabi Police have been urging cyclists to adhere to safety requirements while riding bicycles in the city in a bid to protect the safety of other road users.

Pedestrians are also told to follow rules and to be attentive while using roads to avoid being hit by cars or bikes. The police said cyclists should ride their bicycles on service roads and cycling tracks.

The force stressed the need for cyclists to be attentive and to ride with caution while giving priority to pedestrians.


Ismail Sebugwaawo

A professional journalist originating from Kampala, Uganda, Ismail is a happy father with strong attachment to family and great values for humanity. He has practiced journalism in UAE for the past 13 years, covering the country's parliament (FNC) and crimes, including Abu Dhabi Police, public prosecution and courts. He also reports about important issues in education, public health and the environment, with a keen interest in human interest stories. When out of reporting duties, he serves the Ugandan community in Abu Dhabi as he wants to see his countrymen happy. Exercising and reading are part of his free time.

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