Dubai’s Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) and UAE-based ride-hailing service Careem have launched a first-of-its-kind bike sharing service in the region, providing 780 pedal-assisted bikes across 78 stations in Dubai, as part of Phase 1 of the project.
Within the first two years of implementation, Careem aims to operate 1,750 bicycles and install 175 stations. It will increase its capacity to a total of 3,500 bicycles across 350 stations in the next five years, according to its 15-year contract with the RTA.
The stations will be solar-powered, and will allow users to hire and pay via the Careem Bike app.
Users can unlock the bicycle by scanning the QR code on the bicycle, and entering the 5-digit code from the application into the station, before using the bike.
Careem will rely on smart systems to track their bicycles via GPS, and anticipate the locations in high occupancy areas.
The service will cover a number of busy areas across the city, including Dubai Marina, Jumeirah Beach Road, Jumeirah Lake Towers, The Greens, Barsha Heights, Dubai Water Canal, Dubai Media City, Downtown Dubai and Al Qudra.
The bikes will be permitted to hit a top speed of 30 kmph on the bicycle dedicated tracks and on the safe roads that are covered by the service.
The service was launched by the director general and chairman of the Board of Executive Directors of the RTA, HE Mattar Mohammed Al Tayer, and the co-founder and chief executive officer of Careem, Mudassir Sheikha, in the presence of the executive chairman of the Dubai Multi Commodities Centre, Ahmed Bin Sulayem, at the Jumeirah Lakes Towers’ station.
Commenting on the initiative, Al Tayer said: “This service contributes to Dubai sustainability efforts and encourages residents and tourists to enjoy an active and healthy life, providing them with a new transportation option that will improve mobility across the city.”
Al Tayer added: “The service supports RTA's efforts to create an integrated ecosystem that offers different transportation means, as it supports a vehicle-free flexible model and integrates within daily transportation services, using a safe and comfortable approach. This falls under the efforts made by the Government of Dubai to reduce energy consumption and pollution, provide a healthier and happier environment and offer short first-mile and last-mile connection service that helps public transportation users reach their final destinations.”
RTA and Careem officially launched the first-of-its-kind bike sharing service in the region, covering numerous areas, such as Dubai Marina, Jumeirah Beach Road, Jumeirah Lake Towers, The Greens, Barsha Heights, Dubai Water Canal, Dubai Media City, Downtown Dubai and Al Qudra. pic.twitter.com/FgFS97rdxP— RTA (@rta_dubai) February 22, 2020
RTA has already laid 425 km of bicycle tracks across areas such as Saih Al Salam, Bab Al Shams, Al Qudra Road, Dubai Water Canal, Jumeirah Beach Road, King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud Street, in addition to recent projects across Al Khawaneej and Al Warqa. The overall bicycle tracks across Dubai is expected to reach 647 km by 2023.
Sharing his thoughts on the launch of the service, Sheikha said: “We appreciate the great efforts made by the RTA to bring success to this project, while we value the contributions of our partners at Wasl Properties, Emaar, Dubai Multi Commodities Centre (DMCC), TECOM and Dubai Holding Communities, who helped transform this project into a reality.”
To ensure the safety of bike sharing users, the RTA has called upon cyclists to adhere to the Emirate's laws and regulations, namely the Executive Council’s law 10/2015 and the executive resolution 468/2019.
The law prohibits the use of bicycles on roads that have a top speed of 60kmph or more, and dictates cyclists to get off their bicycles when on a crosswalk; wear a protective helmet and a reflective vest; sit only on the bicycle seat; ride on the right side of the bicycle track; refrain from grabbing a moving vehicle; and abstain from parking their bicycles in a manner that could hinder pedestrians or vehicles.
The regulation also states that cyclists must keep a safe distance from vehicles and pedestrians; refrain from carrying anything that could destabilise the bicycle; adhere to all road/track signs; refrain from using two-ear headsets; cycle only with traffic - not against traffic; and make sure that their bicycle is road-worthy and meets safety requirements.
According to the regulation, bicycles cannot be rented to or used by children under the age of 15, unless accompanied by an adult 18 or older.