Hala Al Khayyat (Abu Dhabi)
Owning bicycles and electric scooters is no longer just a pastime or hobby to improve fitness only, but is now gaining the importance of being a sustainable and environmentally friendly means of transportation, which is what the Emirate of Abu Dhabi is pushing to make these two means of transportation approved by many private vehicle users, and to be one of the The alternatives offered for transportation. The efforts of the concerned authorities in the emirate are intensifying to provide all safe ways to use sustainable transportation, from providing safe paths for their use, and operating a new transportation service on public buses that provides space inside the bus that allows cyclists to transport their bikes with them on buses, thus promoting a culture of sustainable transportation using transportation means. their own via the public bus transportation network and complete the last mile of the journey to their destination to and from major city centers and attractions and entertainment. The Emirate of Abu Dhabi is implementing a plan to expand the provision of bicycle paths, to reach 1,016 km by 2025, while the current length of the tracks is estimated at 676 km, which contributes to achieving climate neutrality and reducing carbon emissions.
In order to regulate the use of these means of transport and achieve safety and security elements, the Union monitors the opinions of a number of specialists in this sector and highlights the executive regulations for the use of bicycles and electric bicycles in the Emirate of Abu Dhabi, which stipulated safety and security standards for the use of these two means, and specified the specifications of bicycles allowed to be used As a means of transportation, it has two wheels or more, and is not equipped with an automatic motor, and is driven by the power of its passenger, while the electric scooter is a vehicle with two wheels or more, equipped with an electric motor and driven by the power of the electric motor or the power of its passenger, and driven by standing method and without a seat. The regulation stipulated that the number of users of bicycles or electric scooters should reach only one person.
Recently, there has been an increase in the use of electric bicycles and electric scooters with a seat by the public, which has spread fear among public road users of pedestrians. Where many of them expressed their fear of users of electric bikes who do not comply with security and safety requirements and the insistence of its riders to use pedestrian paths and sidewalks in their driving.
Although the use of these means of transportation is prohibited on the streets of the emirate, according to the executive regulations for the use of bicycles and electric bikes in the emirate, there are a large number of its users who still insist on using them, as a means of transportation that is easy to obtain due to its low prices, which range from 1500 to 3500 dirhams. They are available in the market and are easy to obtain and drive without the need to obtain a driving license.
Aida Fawzy, who walks on a daily basis, indicated that during her practice of walking, she fears that electric bike riders will not adhere to the paths designated for bicycles and use the sidewalks designated for pedestrians, especially since many of them are driving at a speed that exceeds the permissible limits.
For his part, Muhammad Khan believes that recently there has been a wide spread of electric bikes and electric scooters, especially since many find in them a quick means of transportation and its financial cost is not high.
He believed that the executive regulations will contribute to regulating the use of electric bicycles and scooters, and facilitate the presence of dedicated lanes for these means.
As for Manny Philip, one of the electric scooter users, he confirmed his commitment to the requirements contained in the regulation due to its importance in achieving the safety of cyclists.
In order to stop the use of types that are not permitted on public roads, the Integrated Transport Center of the Department of Municipalities and Transport, in cooperation with the General Command of Abu Dhabi Police, continues until the end of next August to implement awareness campaigns targeting violators of single-seat electric bikes, in addition to emphasizing the importance of adhering to the requirements of Safety by users of the permitted means, namely bicycles, electric scooters, or those dependent on the payment of their occupants, in addition to the necessity of adhering to the lanes designated for their use.
In response to Al-Ittihad’s questions, the Integrated Transport Center in Abu Dhabi confirmed that the competent authorities monitored the occurrence of some accidents resulting from the wrong behavior of the use of bicycles and electric bicycles, and the failure to adhere to safety procedures, instructions and instructions for driving those bicycles.
Regarding the start of implementing the violations, the center explained that the date of the start of the implementation of the violations and fines will be announced later, which were contained in the decision of His Excellency the Chairman of the Department of Municipalities and Transport No. (21) of 2022 regarding regulating the use of bicycles in the Emirate of Abu Dhabi, and stipulates the violation of individuals who do not adhere to the instructions and instructions announced. A fine of 200 dirhams, a violation of bicycles that do not conform to technical specifications, a value of 200 dirhams, a violation of driving a bicycle in non-authorized places is 500 dirhams, and a violation of operating bicycles that do not conform to the approved technical specifications is 500 dirhams.
The center indicated that there is joint cooperation with the General Command of Abu Dhabi Police and joint plans to implement inspection campaigns to monitor and educate violators, indicating that the first phase is an awareness phase and the main objective of which is to educate all members of society, including bicycle users, and to raise awareness of the need for safe use of those bicycles and to avoid unsafe use. to her.
The center pointed out that wrong behaviors by bicycle and scooter users are targeted during awareness campaigns, and the risks that may result from the wrong use of bicycles, stressing the need to follow security and safety rules, including adherence to the technical requirements of the bicycle related to its weight, size and speed.
The center stated that the impact of the regulation on the levels of security and safety in this sector will be monitored and measured after launching awareness campaigns aimed at avoiding illegal behavior and reducing accidents, as part of the ongoing endeavor to promote a culture of sustainable mobility in the Emirate of Abu Dhabi. The Integrated Transport Center, in cooperation with Abu Dhabi Police, will also implement the necessary legal procedures against violators in accordance with the provisions of the regulations and applicable legislation, which will limit erroneous behavior while using these bikes.
The center confirmed that the companies that engage in the rental of electric bikes and are authorized by the Integrated Transport Center will be announced later. The geographical locations and rental areas in the various cities of the Emirate of Abu Dhabi will also be announced, in addition to the instructions and requirements associated with engaging in the activity of renting these bikes.
The executive regulations allow the use of bicycles and electric scooters due to the importance of these two means in achieving sustainable transport, and the success of the “first and last mile project”, as it is a light and recreational transportation for short distances, and links between public transport bus stops and commercial, marketing, service and residential centers, and enhances integration in the transport system and enables Community members can reach their final destination in a fast and economical way.
Dr. Ibrahim Ali Al Balushi, Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Friends of the Environment Society, stressed the importance of using alternative means of transportation, such as bicycles and scooters, and benefiting from the safety factor on the roads provided by the concerned authorities in the emirate.
He pointed out the importance of using sustainable means of transportation for the environment, including bicycles and scooters, as they are considered environmentally friendly and low-cost means of transportation, and do not leave polluting emissions to the air, reduce congestion and reduce the individual’s carbon footprint.
Al Balushi called on bicycle and scooter users to follow safety and security measures, and to walk in the lanes designated for them in order to preserve the safety of road users, in addition to using them for transportation and not for entertainment. He praised the initiative recently launched by the Integrated Transport Center to operate a new public bus transport service that provides space inside the bus that allows cyclists to transport their bikes with them on buses, thus promoting a culture of sustainable transport using their own means of transportation through the public bus transport network and completing the last mile of the journey to Their destination is to and from major city centers and attractions and entertainment.
Professor Tadj O’Donovan, Vice President, Academic Leadership and Head of the College of Engineering and Physical Sciences at Heriot-Watt Dubai University, emphasized that there is an urgent need to adopt alternative transportation methods to reduce emissions and accelerate the path to net zero.
He said that the UAE is the first country in the GCC to commit to achieving net zero by 2050. At this point, it is important to educate people and raise awareness about the environmental benefits of micro-mobility solutions not only to reduce traffic congestion but to reduce carbon emissions in cities and thus achieve Sustainability agenda for the region.
According to O’Donovan, according to studies, highway vehicles emit about 1.7 billion tons (1.5 billion metric tons) of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere each year.
Scooters and bicycles play an important role in the fight against carbon emissions. It is considered one of the most sustainable modes of urban transport, and is feasible not only for short trips but also for trips of medium distances that cannot be covered on foot.
He pointed out that since electric bicycles run on rechargeable batteries, so they are never a source of greenhouse gases, so everyone leaves their car at home and takes their electric bicycle instead, removing one car from traffic, and this represents the elimination of 400 grams of carbon dioxide per mile.
Reduce traffic congestion
Dr. Faris Al-Hawari, Dean of the College of Natural and Health Sciences at Zayed University, said: The UAE took the lead in applying international best practices when the Integrated Transport Center, in partnership with the Abu Dhabi Police General Command, announced new rules for the use of bicycles and electric bikes in the emirate and the regulations for the use of transport The emirate has turned into a bicycle-friendly city, encouraging the use of bicycles as a means of transporting people and transporting goods, in addition to preserving the environment, and contributing to reducing traffic congestion on the roads, by encouraging the use of alternative means of transportation for public transportation and vehicles for short distances, in a manner that serves to promote public health. to society.
Al-Hawari pointed out that the use of bicycles and electric bicycles contributes to reducing air pollution levels, which is one of the major environmental risks to health, which will help reduce the phenomenon of climate change by reducing greenhouse gas emissions and burning natural gas, increasing the efficiency and investments of clean energy, reducing costs and supporting Local economies by reducing the use of petroleum-based fuels, reducing emissions and achieving climate neutrality by 2050 in the UAE.
3 bike paths in Abu Dhabi city
Abu Dhabi city offers 3 safe and integrated paths for cycling tours, which are the Corniche Cycling Track, Al Hudayriat Island Track, which extends over 28 km, and Al Wathba Cycling Track, which extends over an area of 40 km.
The Department of Municipalities and Transport, through the Abu Dhabi City Municipality, is implementing projects in various destinations and various bicycle paths, to enhance the quality of life and provide infrastructure characterized by high standards that achieve directions supporting the health and happiness of the community, including a project implemented by the municipality to link bicycle paths in various parts of the city in line with the master plan of the paths. And it helps to use bicycles as a clean and environmentally friendly means of transportation. Through the project, a bicycle path was implemented on Shakhbout bin Sultan Street, a path for bicycles and another for running on Al Khaleej Al Arabi Street, and a path was established to link bicycle lanes between Al Khaleej Al Arabi Street and Sheikh Zayed Road.
In order to provide safe paths for the use of bicycles and scooters, the Emirate of Abu Dhabi is implementing a plan to expand the provision of bicycle paths, to reach 1,016 km by 2025, noting that last year witnessed an increase in the length of bicycle paths at the level of the emirate by an average of 44% compared to 2020, where the length is estimated The current tracks are 676 km, while they were 468 km during the year 2020.
The Emirate of Abu Dhabi achieved an achievement last year by obtaining the title of Cycling City, from the International Cycling Federation, for its support of cycling, hosting international competitions, developing infrastructure and programs dedicated to cycling, and encouraging cycling every day, as a healthy recreational activity and a sustainable means. to navigate.
The Integrated Transport Center stated that last year, the Emirate of Abu Dhabi witnessed the addition of 208 km of bicycle paths, of which 114 km were in the city of Abu Dhabi alone, bringing the length of bicycle paths in the city to 380 km.
According to the Integrated Transport Center, there is one company in Abu Dhabi operating the bicycle rental service through the smart application, with 125 bicycles used by 10,000 people last year, and 21,000 trips, with an average of 150,000 km.
The center stressed that the expansion of the bicycle path comes as part of the Department of Municipalities and Transport’s endeavor to achieve the Abu Dhabi government’s sustainability goals by adopting a comprehensive mobility management strategy to implement policies and strategies that would encourage the public to change transportation habits and use more sustainable means of transportation, which contributes to Minimizing the environmental impacts of the transport sector, as sustainable mobility encourages healthy lifestyles to make Abu Dhabi a more attractive and efficient city to live, work and visit.
5 Mistakes of Bicycle and Scooter Users
1- Failure to comply with safety and security requirements
2- Do not wear a helmet to avoid any injuries
3- Not having the necessary light bulbs on the bike
4- Use of bicycles that do not meet the specifications
5- Using bicycles on pedestrian paths and sidewalks
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