The wrong kind of segregation

Cyclists will be banned from major roads in Dubai in a move to promote the sport

Cyclists in Dubai will be banned from using major roads under new rules. Sarah Dea / The National
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Most advocates of cycling favour the idea of segregating cyclists from motorised traffic. Their goal would be to establish a network of linked cycleways and paths that allow people to easily traverse a city – in much the same fashion as a car can.

It is also universally acknowledged that cyclists should not be travelling on fast motorways and dual carriageways, so Dubai’s decision to ban them from roads with a speed limit above 60kph is eminently sensible.

We are fortunate to have excellent roads, with wide and well-surfaced carriageways. Although the provision of cycle lanes is still lagging behind demand, Dubai is leading the way in building a network of dedicated and safe cycle paths. Al Qudra cycle track, for example, is 113 kilometres long, and will be extended by 21km to make it easier to access from central Dubai. Other paths include a 25km stretch on Jumeirah Road and an 11km route in Bur Dubai.

Despite this progress – much of it in the past five years – few would contend that Dubai has reached the point of having a mature and integrated network of cycle paths so that cyclists don’t have to use major roads at all. For those in low-paid jobs that presents a problem, as cycling is often the only form of transport or way of getting to work.

Segregating cyclists from motorised traffic is the best option to promote cycling in Dubai and across the UAE, but achieving it should be accompanied by the creation of more cycle paths. The more drivers are encouraged to leave their cars at home and cycle the better, as those cyclists tend to become more considerate of other road users when they do get behind the wheel.