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Dubai licence permit for e-scooters: Experts, residents say it will make roads safer

Recent increase in electric scooter-related accidents raised concerns over the heightened risk to riders and other pedestrians



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File
by

Nandini Sircar

Published: Mon 11 Apr 2022, 4:03 PM

Last updated: Mon 11 Apr 2022, 10:49 PM

Dubai residents and experts hail authorities' move to launch e-scooter licence permits, which, according to them, would make riders and roads safer.

The Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) announced that e-scooter riders in Dubai aged 16 and above would be able to secure free permits from the website by end of April. The process also involves attending training courses and passing an online test.

A recent increase in electric scooter-related accidents raised concerns over the heightened risk to riders and other pedestrians.

Thomas Edelman, founder, and MD, RoadsafetyUAE.com, says, "There is a strong demand for micro-mobility, and we see e-scooters everywhere. Unfortunately, we also see a lot of reckless behaviour from e-scooter riders.

"The appropriate infrastructure is growing, but it does not match the current demand and use of e-scooters. We see all ages of e-scooter users. We see e-scooters used practically on all surfaces, like roads, pedestrian walkways, and bike lanes. We observe careless users like even on dedicated zones at night many e-scooters go without lights; only a minority wear helmets, protective gear, and reflective safety vests."

Edelman explains the weaker traffic participants, especially pedestrians, get taken advantage of by the reckless behaviour of e-scooter users every day. "Other less agile road users, especially cars, often cannot react quickly enough to the swift actions of reckless e-scooter riders."

He adds, “Hospitals are reporting increased numbers of e-scooter rider accidents and pedestrian injuries caused by e-scooter riders. Hence, the an urgent need for broad regulation! Ideally, the same rules for all emirates, meaning on the federal level.”

The road safety expert further highlights all these facts call for urgent regulation and education on the rules.

"It is good that progress is made regarding age restrictions (above 16 years) and the need for a special permit that we understand is quick and easy to obtain. We also understand that the officially allowed zones increased from 5 to 10 areas in Dubai.

"The UAE can learn from other countries as they often have more experience with e-scooter users and have implemented regulation, enforcement, and education initiatives."

Meanwhile, concerned residents hail the licensing move as several e-scooter riders, and community members have been involved in severe accidents due to negligence and non-compliance with traffic rules.

Priyadarshee Panigrahi, Senior Business Management Professional, based in Dubai, said, “I wholeheartedly welcome this move and say that this was the ‘need of the hour’. The sight of e-scooter riders zipping by on major roads without adhering to any rules or lane discipline, without wearing any protective equipment, gives me the shivers.”

Panigrahi, who initially liked the idea of the e-scooter, even made an online purchase of the same. But he soon felt it was a risky proposition and eventually returned it.

He adds, “I feel it is perilous to have e-scooters on the same roads as normal traffic. Special training to acquire an e-scooter license, dedicated tracks for them and mandatory wearing of crash protection equipment/high visibility jackets are all necessary for the safety of e-scooter riders as well as pedestrians. Considering the popularity [of e-scooters], it is important to provide the regulatory framework to govern e-scooter usage.”

Additionally, an awareness campaign will be held. Those with local or international driving licences are exempt from securing the permits. Only those with the RTA permits will be allowed to ride these vehicles.

Saman Haziq, a JLT resident, says, “It’s a cool and convenient mode of transport. I have driven e-scooters myself, especially during winters when the weather was good. If you walk around JLT, you see people riding it or e-scooters parked everywhere, so you feel like trying it yourself.

"But having said that, I am happy that the requirement licence has been announced by RTA. This will help in keeping people who use these under control.”

“I have often seen teens overspeeding with it. They are young and like the idea of speed, and often some of these youngsters wouldn’t respect the lanes. JLT is also an area where you see elderly people walking around the lake, and these young children would put on their headphones and zip past you. Many residents would get startled, and many would even feel upset. There was an incident where a child got hit by an e-scooter here.

"I think all these reasons have been factored in, and it’s a great move as these rules will keep users under check. This will benefit both users and the community members,” adds Haziq.

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French national Gabrielle Monet says, “If people are taught how to ride it, and at what speed to ride it at, if they understand the rules and regulations, it’s okay; otherwise, it becomes a nuisance.

"A designated parking area would also prevent these vehicles from being thrown around and parked anywhere, as I have seen many people being careless about parking these vehicles. People can trip over e-scooters if it’s just lying on the floor without being parked properly. I have also often noticed two people riding on it at a time and just zipping past you. This can really be perilous.”


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