By Majorie van Leijen www.emirates247.com
The RTA had announced that by the end of the first quarter of this year it would have constructed as many as 3,000 bicycle parking spaces for Dubai Metro users to encourage cycling and to encourage an integrated and sustainable transport system.
Encouraging cycling as a means of transportation is one of the goals of RTA because it will help ease heavy usage of vehicles and thereby reduce environmental pollution.
In 2009 it presented the Bicycle Master Plan that was to cover all areas of Dubai and would be implemented in phases depending on certain criteria, like population density, locations of activity centers, access to metro and other public transport stations and safety requirements.
Parking spaces for cyclers can indeed be found at different stations along the Red Line, however, tracks leading to these parking spaces are scarce.
Asked at which stage the developments are right now, engineer Nasser Abu Shehab, director of Strategic Transport Planning of RTA answered that the priority is given to Metro stations.
“RTA’s next phase of the Bicycle Master Plan includes providing bike tracks in areas closer to the Metro Red Line such as connecting the existing Jumeirah Beach Road to the nearby Red Line Metro stations on the Sheikh Zayed Road.”
“At the moment all metro stations are designed for easy pedestrian and bicycle accesses within 500m radius,” explains Nasser and RTA has urged residents to use bicycles particularly for short trips.
“We rarely see people who commute by cycling,” says Wolfi, owner of Wolfi’s Bike Shop and a cycling expert in Dubai. “Our personnel come to work by bicycle, but that is more of an exception.”
According to Wolfi cycling in the UAE is more of a sport, which is growing in popularity due to an increased availability of bicycles in the country. “There is a group of 120-150 people meeting regularly to go biking. We do routes of 60-80 kilometers. More info