UAE: Police explain why bike accidents have increased amid Covid-19

Often, riders are forced to speed to deliver orders on time

File photo
File photo

Afkar Ali Ahmed

Published: Fri 3 Dec 2021, 5:08 PM

As e-commerce and delivery businesses flourished during the Covid-19 pandemic, the number of bike accidents in the UAE also increased.

Authorities have expressed concern about delivery riders' well-being and the growing number of deaths. Most riders who work in the goods or food delivery industry come from Asian and African countries and don't have knowledge of UAE's traffic rules and safety, top officials from traffic police departments in Dubai, Ajman and Sharjah said.

They reiterated that the pandemic lockdown, which forced residents to stay indoors, resulted in a sharp spike in online orders for the delivery of foods, groceries, medicine and other goods.

Lt-Col Mohammed Alai Al Naqbi, director of the Traffic and Patrols Department at the Sharjah Police General Command, said intensifying traffic awareness for motorcyclists and imposing stricter penalties can reduce bike-related traffic accidents.

To further counter accidents, the police have deployed traffic patrols on internal and external roads to monitor reckless drivers. The most common violation among motorcyclists is failing to adhere to the lane, the penalty for which is Dh500, Al Naqbi said.

Lt-Col Saif Abdullah Al Falasi, director of the Traffic and Patrols Department at Ajman Police, stressed that traffic awareness for delivery riders is crucial.

For that reason, the Traffic and Patrols Department has launched several awareness campaigns for motorcyclists, especially those working in restaurants and commercial companies. The campaigns are centred around spreading a culture of traffic safety.

Major-General Engineer Counsellor Mohammed Saif Al Zaffin, assistant commander-in-chief for Operations Affairs at Dubai Police and chairman of the Federal Traffic Council, said authorities have recently confiscated violators' vehicles as a preventive measure. The aim is to save their lives and others'.

Al Zaffin urged motorists to drive cautiously, reduce their speed, keep a safe distance between vehicles and pay attention to the road.

An official at the Bur Dubai Police Station said a recent campaign, which was conducted in the jurisdiction area, resulted in the seizure of 108 bikes from motorists who failed to adhere to traffic laws.

The official said the campaign's goal is to control road security, reduce deaths, preserve road users' property and safety and monitor traffic violations.

RTA efforts

Dubai's Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) has issued regulations based on international standards to protect delivery and bike riders.

An official from RTA said the transport authority has launched education courses that cover traffic laws, maps of roads in Dubai and how to react during traffic accidents. Under RTA's directives, delivery companies are required to enrol their employees in these courses.

Special lanes for motorcyclists

Several motorists Khaleej Times spoke to have asked authorities to allocate special lanes for delivery riders and motorcyclists.

Atif Al Hanoory said many bike drivers are not aware of the traffic accidents they cause and the dangers they pose to others.

Another motorist, Mutaz Al Kahtim, said he feels nervous when he sees a delivery bike heading towards his vehicle.

"They need more training, as they make mistakes due to a lack of experience because they are mostly new to the country," he said. "They ride with recklessness at high speeds, overtake from the right and drive in the fast lane, which exposes them to danger."

Arham Khan, a bike rider working at a popular food delivery company, said he initially faced difficulties when he started working because he was unfamiliar with the roads and streets.


Though he uses GPS to navigate, the app is sometimes inaccurate, which forces him to call customers and be on the phone while he's driving.

He added the work is risky, but he has to do it because the company pays him Dh6 per order, excluding the tips he receives from kind customers. In a day, he earns between Dh100 to Dh200.

Why riders speed

Ismaeel, a rider from the same food delivery company, said delivery people are sometimes have no choice but to speed, as customers get upset and yell at them for delivering meals late.

This prompts riders to zoom through the streets to keep up with orders and reach on time.

"Reaching the location fast would give time to deliver as many orders as possible per day to make more money," he said.

Negasi Abel, another delivery rider, said he was regretful to learn about his colleague's death after a traffic accident, which occurred on November 23 in Sharjah's Industrial Area 15 while he was on his way to deliver food.

The customer had been urging him to reach the location fast, and he got so nervous he crashed into the truck ahead of him.

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