Road safety rules that UAE cyclists need to know

Renewed calls to obey traffic rules comes after a group of cyclists was hit in Abu Dhabi last week

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Cyclists in the UAE have been urged to stick to road rules after a recent accident in Abu Dhabi.

A group of  eight riders were hit by a car while travelling on the hard shoulder of a motorway last week.

Brig Gen Salem Al Dhaheri, the emirate's deputy traffic chief, warned cyclists of the dangers of flouting traffic rules.

Some riders in the group were not wearing high-visibility clothing. At least two were admitted to hospital after the crash on Yas Island around midnight on December 17.

Thomas Edelmann, founder of Road Safety UAE, said many riders fail to abide by safety rules, which leads to accidents.

“Part of the problem is so many people are cycling at night in residential areas but are not wearing reflective clothing and they don’t have lights on their bikes,” Mr Edelmann said.

“Motorists are unable to see them until it’s too late to stop an accident.

“There is also an issue with workers like gardeners or delivery men who not only fail to wear protective equipment but also often travel directly into the path of oncoming traffic.”

There were 109 accidents involving cyclists in the past two years in Abu Dhabi, which is four per cent of the total road crashes during the period.

There have been renewed calls by campaigners and police officials to obey traffic rule and stay safe on the roads.

The basics

According to Dubai’s Roads and Transport Authority, cyclists must install a main headlight on their bicycles and a red rear light and reflector.

Riders must stay on the right side of the road. They are not permitted to cycle on footpaths.

Cyclists can use main roads as long as the speed limit is below 60kph.

Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates - General SalemÊAbdullahÊAl Dhaheri, Deputy Director of the Traffic and Patrols Directorate discusses cyclist violations at Abu DhabiÊPolice. Khushnum Bhandari for The National
Brig Gen Salem Al Dhaheri urged cyclists and e-scooters of riding outside of their designated lanes. Khushnum Bhandari / The National

Cyclists must also stay in single file, and they are not permitted to have more than one person on the bicycle unless it is equipped for that purpose.

Protective helmets must be worn at all times.

Riders must also have both hands on the handle bars at all times, unless signalling to turn.

They are not permitted to travel in a zigzag manner and are not allowed to use excessive speed or cycle in a manner that can endanger others.

Tips for cyclists

Road Safety UAE experts said riders should pedal defensively and always have control of their bicycle.

Bikes should be in good condition. Brakes, tyres and lights should be checked regularly.

Riders should be alert to motorists opening car doors or any possible obstacles and potholes. Cyclists should make eye-contact with motorists so they know drivers have seen them.

Cyclists have been warned against using mobile phones while riding. They must avoid busy roads and areas where bicycles are prohibited.

It is always advisable to ride in cycle-friendly areas that have designated lanes, such as Yas Marina in Abu Dhabi, Al Qudra, Nad Al Sheba and Dubai Autodrome.

Road Safety UAE also recommended joining cycling groups to stay informed about biking throughout the Emirates.