Sleepless nights for Dubai families as boy racers use road as drag strip

Residents of the Town Square district said drivers are taking advantage of speed camera blind spots on Al Qudra Road

DUBAI UNITED ARAB EMIRATES. 22 NOVEMBER 2020. Residents sign a petition against people racing their cars close to their community at night in the Hayat Townhouses in Town Square. Residents LtoR: Gabriel Martinez, Kessie Bebel and Ghadir Shaar. (Photo: Antonie Robertson/The National) Journalist: Patrick Ryan. Section: National.
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Families in one of Dubai’s most popular desert communities have hit out at boy racers they say have left them with sleepless nights for months.

The road leading to Town Square has been turned into a drag strip by speeding cars and quad bikes, they said.

More than 1,000 residents signed a petition to ask the authorities for more speed cameras in the area.

Dubai Police's Barsha division told The National they recently began a crackdown and would "hold offenders accountable for their reckless actions".

“I rarely enjoy a good night’s sleep now,” said Syrian resident Ghadir Shaar, 33.

I just dread going to bed now, especially at the weekends

“People race up and down the Al Qudra Road at all hours, near our homes, and they are also driving on the sand dunes outside late at night and into the morning.

"I just dread going to bed now, especially at the weekends, because I know what’s going to happen. I moved here six months ago and it has never stopped.”

The Syrian, who is the director of a media production company, said cameras and patrols were needed to deter offenders.

“I got more than 1,000 signatures from people in Town Square as well as the communities in Arabian Ranches, Mira and Damac Hills,” he said.

“There are so many people affected by this. It starts at 8pm and goes on until 6am.”

The problem has gone on for more than a year, as The National reported in January.

There have even been several confrontations between residents and late-night quad bike racers.

“There is a massive area of sand behind our homes and they are using it to rev up their cars and quads,” said Frankie Fitzsimons, 30, a New Zealander who lives in Town Square with her husband.

“I think they are doing it to wind people up at this stage. One night was particularly bad which led to my husband and other residents confronting them.

"They stopped for half an hour and started again, when we went back out they said it was public land and they could do whatever they wanted."

Kessie Bebel, a 36-year-old teacher from France, urged developer Nshama, which manages the community, to step in and back their complaints.

“It’s really unfair how a few selfish people are being allowed to ruin 900 lives every night,” she said.

“Every time we go out to complain to those making the noise it stops for a few minutes and then starts up again 10 minutes later louder than before.”

Dubai residents raised more than 2,500 noise complaints last year, according to the emirate’s municipality.

Many related to construction work in Dubai Marina and Jumeirah Village Circle.

The permitted noise level in Dubai is 30 to 40 decibels overnight and 40 to 50 decibels from 7am to 8pm.

Police recently confiscated 27 vehicles in the area for a number of traffic offences, including driving heavily modified cars with power boosters to increase speed.

Other offences included concealing number plates and driving without a licence.

Brig Abdul Rahim bin Shafia, head of Barsha Police Station, said a campaign in the area was aimed at "ensuring road security, reducing the number of traffic injuries and related deaths, as well as protecting properties and holding offenders accountable for their reckless actions".