Dune bashing enthusiasts are facing a rough ride from authorities in Sharjah, with barriers being erected and sands flattened in a bid to crackdown on reckless driving and reduce accidents.
Dune bashing is a hugely popular recreational activity in the UAE for drivers gleefully gearing up to bound over mounds of sand and explore the country's vast desert landscape in 4x4 vehicles.
But while it is a fun pursuit for many, a spate of dune bashing accidents have led officials in the emirate to step in.
Barriers have been erected on the orders of Dr Shaikh Sultan Bin Mohammad Al Qasimi, Supreme Council Member and Ruler of Sharjah, to curb the number of accidents.
Authorities said they have taken the measures in the wake of an accident that saw a Yemeni man having to be rescued from a vehicle that had caught fire in Sharjah.
The 33-year-old was said to have suffered serious injuries in the incident.
Sharjah Police warned that residents and visitors are continuing to drive recklessly in the desert, particularly when it comes to performing stunts on quad bikes.
“Sharjah Police will impound modified vehicles and motorbikes and will restrict any kind of misconduct by young motorists, that would pose a threat to their lives and safety, as well as that of others,” said Brigadier Abdullah Mubarak Bin Amer, deputy commander-in-chief of Sharjah Police.
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“The department will also strictly monitor and eliminate any indecent behaviour, or that which may degrade the traditions and culture of the emirate.”
A recent clampdown by the police saw fines being issued to campers for driving without a licence, riding quad bikes on highways, a failure to use the right safety equipment and camping in unauthorised areas.
Sharjah Police said it will be paying particular attention to the Badair, Al Saifah, Al Batih, Al Dhaid and Mleiha regions.
“These measures have been taken as a result of a number of accidents which have which many young people had sustained serious injuries that could have led to their deaths,” said Mr Bin Ameer.
“Severe penalties and fines will be imposed on offenders. Vehicles and motorcycles misused to violate the law will be impounded permanently.”