- Announcement made at Dubai Police’s Innovation Lab titled ‘Cycling is a Lifestyle’
Dubai Crown Prince and Chairman of The Executive Council of Dubai His Highness Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, has issued directives to transform Dubai into a bicycle-friendly city.
As part of implementing the directives, Dubai will introduce laws and legislations to promote cycling both as a sport and a means of environmentally friendly transport. HH Sheikh Hamdan urged authorities to adopt the global best practices and safety and security measures required to develop a bicycle-friendly infrastructure.
The announcement is in line with the objectives of Dubai Vision 2021, which aims to strengthen Dubai's position as the world’s most preferred place to live, work and visit. It also supports the objectives of the Dubai Traffic Strategy 2021 that seeks to reduce road fatalities and the UAE Energy Strategy 2050’s aims of achieving a 16% reduction in carbon emissions by 2021 and transforming Dubai into the city with world’s lowest carbon footprint.
HH Sheikh Hamdan’s announcement came during Dubai Police’s ‘Cycling is a Lifestyle’ Innovation Lab organised at the Cycle Hub -Jumeirah. The event was held in partnership with The Executive Council of Dubai, Dubai Public Prosecution, Supreme Legislation Committee, Roads and Transport Authority (RTA), Dubai Sports Council, Department of Economic Development (DED), Emirates Cycling Federation, Dubai Municipality, UAE Insurance Authority, Board of Directors of Dubai Police Stations, Dubai Corporation for Ambulance Services, cycling event organisers, real estate development partners, bike suppliers and the cycling community.
The ‘Cycling is a Lifestyle’ Innovation Lab was inaugurated by the Commander-in-Chief of Dubai Police Lt. General Abdullah Khalifa Al Marri in the presence of Sheikh Marwan bin Mohammed bin Hasher Al Maktoum; Saeed Hareb, Secretary General of the Dubai Sports Council; Counsellor Salah Bu Faroucha Al Falasi, Head of the Dubai Traffic Prosecution; and senior officers and specialists representing Dubai Police’s strategic partners.
Participants recommended the formation of a task force comprising of RTA, Dubai Police, Dubai Sports Council and the Supreme Legislation Committee to steer Dubai’s development into a bicycle-friendly city by introducing a suitable infrastructure and legislative system and fostering a bicycle-friendly community culture.
They also recommended promoting joint efforts between various stakeholders to achieve these aims. The participants pledged to jointly work towards enhancing safety standards, improving perceptions of bicycle use, promoting the use of cargo bicycles, development of standards and policies, creating dedicated areas for bicycle use and promoting a bicycle renting culture.
The participants called for developing an infrastructure that not only ensures safety but also provides cyclists a suitable atmosphere to engage in the activity. They also advocated the creation of safer crossings and more bicycle paths, provision of facilities and services on cycling tracks and organisation of events and activities to motivate the public to use bicycles as a mean of transport.
Participants stressed on the need to develop a safety guide for cyclists, launch awareness and educational campaigns, and obligate driving institutes to promote bicycling among driving license applicants They also discussed bicycle insurance and the public’s involvement in promoting local cycling events. The attendees also highlighted the need for legislative integration between the UAE Traffic Law and local administrative decisions regarding the use of bicycles and the compatibility of infrastructure.
In his opening speech, Lt. General Al Marri said: "His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, is the greatest inspiration for us in promoting the use of bicycles and the integration of cycling into people’s lifestyles. A few days ago, we all saw His Highness riding a bike in Dubai."
Lt General Al Marri confirmed that Dubai Police is working with its strategic partners in the government to make Dubai a bicycle-friendly city. The Dubai Police General Headquarters is keen to launch specific initiatives to promote a culture of bicycle use, he said, the latest of which is the ‘Ride with Dubai Police Bikers Unit’ initiative, which allowed community members to volunteer in enforcing COVID-19 precautionary measures.
Global Destination with a Futuristic Vision
His Excellency Abdullah Al Basti, Secretary-General of The Executive Council of Dubai, praised the efforts being made to transform Dubai into a bicycle-friendly city by applying global best practices. This, he said, is aligned with the government's vision of reinforcing the emirate’s position as a leading global destination which adopts practices that promote happiness and environmental sustainability. The transformation of Dubai into a bicycle-friendly city also supports the emirate’s vision to promote the comprehensive development of sustainable mobility across sectors in Dubai.
Community Health and Safety
His Excellency Dawood Al Hajri, Director General of Dubai Municipality, said: “We are pleased to participate in the effort to transform Dubai into a bicycle-friendly city. Our participation reflects Dubai Municipality’s keenness to promote the health and safety of society. This Lab contributes to implementing the directives of HH Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid to further enhance the quality of life in the city, and implement the instructions of HH Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed to provide the facilities necessary to encourage residents to take up cycling as a fitness activity.”
Directives of the Leadership
His Excellency Saeed Hareb, Secretary-General of the Dubai Sports Council, said the Innovation Lab was focused on finding new ways of achieving the directives of the leadership to improve quality of life and encourage the practice of sport. He attributed the success that Dubai has achieved so far in this regard to its infrastructure and the international sporting events it hosts throughout the year. Hareb further said the Innovation Lab was focused on promoting a culture of cycling in Dubai and making it a bicycle-friendly city.
James Thoem, Director at Copenhagenize Design Co., creators of the Copenhagenize Index, the world’s most comprehensive and holistic ranking of bicycle-friendly cities, praised HH Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed’s directives to transform Dubai into a bike-friendly city and the Dubai’s government’s continuous efforts to promote the use of bicycles.
In a video-recorded message, Thoem briefed the attendees on the three criteria for developing cities: urban design and planning, communication, and awareness and educational initiatives. He also explained the criteria applied in the ‘Copenhagen Index for Best Bicycle-Friendly Cities’, which ranks more than 140 cities around the world in terms of the suitability and safety for cycling.
Three Discussion Panels
The ‘Cycling is a Lifestyle’ Innovation Lab featured three discussion panels. The first chaired by Engineer Hussain Al Banna from RTA and moderated by Major Dr. Rashid Al Ghafri, Director of Training and Development at the General Department of Forensic Sciences and Criminology at Dubai Police, discussed challenges related to bicycle-friendly infrastructure. The second panel, which discussed cycling-related laws and legislations, was chaired by Counsellor Salah Bu Faroucha Al Falasi and moderated by Colonel Abdurrahman Al Shaer, Director of Legal Affairs at the General Department of Human Rights at Dubai Police. The third discussion panel, chaired by Saeed Hareb, was focused on issues related to cycling safety.