Abu Dhabi launches new electronic permit for amateur cyclists

Groups will be allowed on roads with a speed limit exceeding 80kph

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Groups of cyclists will be allowed to make long-distance rides on Abu Dhabi's main roads and highways, if they secure permission from the authorities.

A new permit will be applicable to groups of amateur cyclists travelling on roads with a speed limit exceeding 80 kilometres an hour.

Individual cyclists will not require a licence but are urged to stay off busy roads in general.

The permit system was introduced by Abu Dhabi Police, in association with the Integrated Transport Centre, Abu Dhabi Sports Council and Abu Dhabi Cycling Club.

It is aimed at cycling teams and clubs who wish to ride fast on the city's roads during quiet periods. Some semi-professional groups now even use support vehicles for long and demanding rides.

“The public can submit their applications using the Abu Dhabi Police website within a period of no less than 48 hours from the date of using the permit,” an Abu Dhabi Police representative said.

"The vehicle must be equipped with hazard lights and adhere to security and safety requirements such as placing bicycles in the places designated for them without impacting or obstructing of traffic.”

Last December, a group of cyclists were hit by a car on Yas Island as they pedalled along the hard shoulder at nighttime, with two left seriously hurt.

Police urged both drivers and cyclists to be careful and said riders should stick to cycle tracks and "never be on the same street with cars".

Abu Dhabi police recorded 109 accidents involving bicycles in 2019 and 2020, about 4 per cent of total road crashes.

"I am a cyclist myself since the age of 12 and when I ride from my home to a nearby cycling track I feel how risky it is to be on the street if I were not on the designated lane," Brig Gen Salem Al Dhaheri, the emirate's deputy traffic chief, said at the time.

"We cannot stress enough how important it is to ride in designated areas."

The police representative said the measures were introduced to ensure cyclists’ and motorists’ safety throughout the emirate.

Updated: August 22, 2021, 12:57 PM