Drunk cyclist lands Dh20,000 fine

A cyclist who was knocked down by a car last month is fined Dh20,000 by the Dubai Traffic Court.

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DUBAI // A drunk cyclist who was knocked down by a car in Bur Dubai last month has been fined Dh20,000 by the Dubai Traffic Court .

The unidentified Indian man, who is in his 50s, was sentenced on Sunday. He escaped being sent to prison.

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Any person caught driving under the influence of alcohol faces up to three years in prison, a fine up to Dh20,000, or both.

Sources at the court confirmed it was not the first time cyclists had been charged with driving under the influence of alcohol.

"This year, a man was charged after being involved in traffic accident while driving under the influence of alcohol and was fined Dh10,000 by the court," he said.

Under federal traffic law, a person in charge of any vehicle on the road who is under the influence of alcohol will be prosecuted. That includes bicycles, officials say.

The chief of Dubai Traffic Prosecution, Salah Bu Faroosha, has warned drivers that Dubai has a zero-tolerance policy towards driving under the influence of alcohol.

Last year, prosecutors handled 1,092 cases of driving under the influence of alcohol, he said and there were 1,155 cases in 2009.

Seventy-eight per cent of drivers in drinking cases have had their licences suspended for three months to one year, he said. Licences were suspended for 859 offenders in 2010.

This year, between January and May, 154 drink-driving cases have been recorded, according to Dubai Traffic Police. Statistics show that drink-driving accidents so far this year have accounted for about 14 per cent of all accidents on Dubai roads. Eight people have been killed in drink-driving accidents, which involved 274 vehicles across the emirate.

"I would like to advise our fellow drivers to be aware of the traffic regulations and penalties involved with drink-driving. We want them to be mindful and not infringe on the rights of others, otherwise they will have to face the consequences," Mr Bu Faroosha said.