UAE motorists have hit back at claims their reckless driving is putting delivery bike riders at risk on the roads.
Riders from food delivery companies across Dubai told The National that the careless actions of fellow road users put their lives in danger on a daily basis, with many suffering injuries in the line of duty.
Their concerns followed a survey by campaign group RoadSafetyUAE last year, in which 77 per cent of delivery riders said other vehicles cut in front of them on a regular basis, with 68 per cent believing other motorists are inconsiderate.
But motorists have taken to The National's Facebook page to insist that the fault in many cases lies with "menace" delivery riders.
“The delivery drivers constantly cut you up,” said Kate Bell.
“They constantly cut you up and sit on your flank in your blind spot and pull out in front of you at traffic lights. They are a menace.”
Dave Pryce said that he empathises with the delivery riders, but added they were guilty of dangerous driving in many instances.
“They are as guilty of reckless driving as those they accuse,” he said.
“They weave in and out of traffic and dart between cars, buses and trucks, hog fast lanes, drive too slowly and don’t indicate.
“They cannot complain when they are so cavalier with the rules themselves.”
Emma Woodcock also hit out at the delivery riders.
“My toes curl watching the way some of these guys ride their bikes,” she said.
“They ride way too close to my truck and often sit in the back quarter tucked into my blind spot.”
She pleaded with the riders to slow down and give other drivers a chance to see them on the roads.
“I don’t want to be living with someone’s death on my conscience because they were riding dangerously,” she said.
“Stop making illegal manoeuvres and let’s all live another day please.”
Romien Benson said that most of the delivery riders she has encountered drive dangerously.
“They cut in when the traffic lights are red and are so close to my car that I can’t start driving when the light goes green, even though I was there ahead of them,” she said.
Biker Sabrina Hoehn joined the chorus of criticism.
“Being a motorbike rider myself I am very conscious of motorcyclists, however these guys are a serious danger to themselves the way they ride.”
Summer Gales questioned how motorbike riders can accuse people of cutting in front of them when “you’re zipping your little bike in and out lanes at reckless speeds”.
There were 17 motorbike riders killed in Dubai last year, with another 122 accidents involving motorcyclists reported.
Officers in Abu Dhabi have led calls for riders to take more care on the roads after revealing motorcycles were involved in 682 accidents in the past five years, resulting in 42 fatalities.
In 2017, Dubai Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) introduced regulations to reduce delivery motorbike accidents, including barring pillion passengers and ensuring phosphoric reflector strips are attached to bikes, according to specific dimensions.
Other social media users leapt to the defence of the delivery riders.
“If they are in your blind spot, it is your responsibility to be aware they are there,” said Salman Shaikh.
“Nothing is wrong if they pull in front of you at traffic lights. Lane filtering is legal here.”
Increasing the salaries of delivery riders would help to alleviate road safety issues, according to Farhan Hartham.
“Delivery riders should be paid a decent wage so they are not tempted to rush and do more deliveries to increase their earnings,” he said.
Part of the problem, according to Cecilia Zapata, is a reluctance among motorists in the region to use an indicator when changing direction, which then creates difficulties for other drivers who have to adapt.
“They [the delivery riders] have had to drive defensively because nobody knows how to use an indicator,” she said.
“It’s survival of the fittest on the road.”
Atia Bryans did not hold back in defence of fellow delivery riders.
“You rich people in your cars are the worst,” he said.
“You always put pressure on us wanting your order in five minutes. How is that possible? Do you want us to fly?”
Sandy Donald said that blaming motorbike delivery drivers or motorists for bad driving was missing the bigger picture.
“Everybody is blaming everyone else but the driving standards in the UAE are abysmal,” she said.
“Hand out suspensions and tickets. That will get everyone’s attention.”