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20.12.09 launching the Dubai Metro and ultra-modern public buses, the focus is now on promoting cycling — yet another mode of transport specially to cover short distances.

The Dubai Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) has plans to have more than 900km of cycling tracks in the city. The tracks will be laid in phases over the next 10 years. However, some 157km long cycling tracks, including 70 km in Bur Dubai and 57 km in Deira, will be built on a priority basis. Work on the first phase of laying tracks on important roads has already begun.

Some of the major roads which will have dedicated tracks in near future include: Shaikh Zayed Road (service road), Al Mankhool Road, Al Rigga Street and Al Diyafah Street. The RTA has also laid part of the cycling track on Al Rigga Street and it is connected to the Al Rigga Metro Station. The 14km-long Jumeirah Road already has a cycling track and it will have marking on the road soon.

"We have started work on building the tracks in the areas that have relatively greater cyclist population," said Abdul Mohsin, Chief Executive Officer of the RTA's Strategy and Corporate Governance.

Mohsin told Gulf News that there was a huge cycling population in the congested Central Business District (CBD) areas of Deira and Bur Dubai. "We will either have dedicated cycling tracks or just marking on the roads to provide safe passage to cyclists in these areas," he added. The RTA will also initially build some 2,000 parking stands along the tracks to provide parking facilities for bicycles.

The parking spaces will be increased to 6,000 over the next 10 years."Our aim is provide safe cycling facilities in the city in a bid to encourage more people to use cycles to cover short distances and avoid using cars," Mohsin added.

He said that the RTA ha s also recommended to the Federal Government to amend some laws allowing more freedom to cyclists and to provide them with greater safety.

The UAE's Federa1 Law No. 21 of 1995, along with Ministerial Order No.130 of 1997, addresses the legislative requirements for the use of bicycles.

Article I6 of the Law states that a cyclist shall ride bicycle on the right side of the road and is prohibited from riding their bicycle on sidewalks. They shall use the cycle tracks if available. Currently, it is prohibited to ride bicycle on main roads for safety reasons.

Would you be opting for cycling for your everyday commute? What are the problems you face currently? What would you suggest to encourage residents to take up cycling?


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