Category Archives: Traffic

Outrage at Traffic Jams

Boy do people get steamed up when they drive here!

I notice a big difference between the Netherlands (or Australia) and here in Dubai when it comes to this.  A lot of drivers here seem to have great difficulty coping emotionally with the constraints of big city traffic.

I’m not sure why this is the case… are traffic jams actually new to most of the people driving here? I would have though traffic jams were just as common in India, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Lebanon, Jordan et al as they are here??

Why do people seem to have such difficulty adjusting to the impact traffic has on their lives?

I often get the impression that people are shocked that traffic jams exist in the first place, and are somehow unable to calculate extra time into their journeys to accommodate them so they are not late.

This article below highlights the frustration levels of local residents of The Greens (which is where we live).

The traffic ALWAYS sucks here.  True.

It needs to be improved. True.

But since it always sucks is it hard to anticipate a delay? Not really, no.

Solution? Leave earlier.

I dunno. Maybe I am being too simplistic.  There must be a logical reason why this causes people so much pain here.

Drivers take the illegal road

Tim Brooks

Last Updated: September 16. 2009 1:37PM UAE / September 16. 2009 9:37AM GMT

The Greens Flyover - Image Source: Paulo Vecina / The National

The Greens Flyover - Image Source: Paulo Vecina / The National

DUBAI // Motorists are taking an illegal shortcut over a flyover that has not yet been opened to avoid ongoing traffic at The Greens.

Drivers, frustrated by heavy congestion at the traffic hot spot, are moving barriers and cones to access a bridge over Sheikh Zayed Road that will link the area to Internet City, Media City and the Marina, residents say.

Sandra Glover, 33, an Australian resident at The Greens who witnessed the reckless driving yesterday morning, said drivers were so angry at the delays to road developments that they were flouting the law and taking great risks.

“I had been queuing for around 20 minutes when I saw that a driver was getting agitated and waving his arms in anger,” she said.

“Then he just pulled his car over to the side of the road, pushed the barrier blocking the entrance to the flyover aside and sped into the distance. He was so angry that I’m not sure he cared whether it was completed or not.”

She added: “Traffic in The Greens has been an issue for over a year, and there have been so many delays that people’s patience is at breaking point. It has caused this reckless and irresponsible behaviour.”

The Roads and Transport Authority and the police were unavailable to comment.

Entering a prohibited road and entering a road dangerously are both violations, punishable with a fine of Dh600 (US$160) and four black points.

Shanwar Shamshudeen, an official with Emaar, the developer responsible for The Greens, said security guards had witnessed the flyover being used and had notified the police.

A large sign was put up yesterday at the entrance to the bridge saying that no unauthorised personnel should proceed beyond that point.

“The flyover has been completed for three weeks but has not been opened due to delays in payment of the construction company,” he said. “The flyover cannot be used until signage is erected and traffic lights on the approach to the bridge have been activated.

“We are aware of the problems our residents face with traffic congestion. Originally the development was built with only a single lane access to Sheikh Zayed Road. We recognised that this was insufficient and have been pressuring the RTA for an additional lane for over a year.”

The flyover, intended to clear congestion by providing direct access to Media City and the Marina, was meant to be completed in March.

Kevin Poyntor, 27, an Irish resident of The Greens, said: “It is not acceptable that this problem still hasn’t been solved when work began in 2006.

“People are late for work and children are late for school because of this. Solving it should have been a priority. While I don’t condone what these drivers are doing, I admit that it must be tempting to use an empty stretch of road rather than be stuck in traffic. People pay a lot of money to live in this area and deserve better infrastructure.”

Last Ramadan the traffic situation became so bad, with drivers facing queues of more than an hour just to exit the area, that The Greens residents’ committee launched an online petition to force Emaar into action.

The residents’ committee has repeatedly demanded that Emaar provide access to Sheikh Zayed Road through the company’s business park, which can be accessed only by using an electronic pass issued to staff. The requests have been denied.

In the past six months the problem has been exacerbated by the sharp rise in residents in the neighbouring Tecom district, which shares the same access roads, and by taxi drivers seeking to avoid Al Barsha Salik gate by taking a detour through the area.

Their anger has been vented through the online petition, which now has 539 signatories, and a noticeboard.

One forum member, Markus Wischy, wrote that plans and a timetable of the road improvements should have been made public and that properties should not have been sold without sufficient roads.

The longtime committee member and campaigner CK Prasad, 55, an Indian resident at the Green, said traffic problems had marred the reputation of the area, forcing prices down and causing many people to leave.

“The traffic issue is significant,” he said. “Many people have left the area due to it and it has had an impact on the reduction of house prices. What is the incentive for people to stay when they can get a flat in another area, without the traffic problems?

“I have lived here for five years and it has still not been resolved. Emaar and the RTA should have worked together on this issue, then perhaps it would have been solved by now.”


Abandoned Cars

Abandoned, the dream cars of Dubai

Hugh Naylor

From The National

Last Updated: September 06. 2009 12:16PM UAE / September 6. 2009 8:16AM GMT
A BMW Z3 sports car wasting away on a side street in Dubai Marina area. Jeffery E Biteng / The National

Dubai // A few months ago, any one of them probably would have turned heads. Today, few people give them a second glance except, perhaps, to read the latest graffiti scrawled in the thick dust that has obliterated their lustre.

They are the abandoned cars of Dubai, among them Porsches, Mercedes and BMWs. Each was once someone’s dream, but now they are unloved, unwanted and making a poor job of fending for themselves on the streets of the city.

Take the BMW Z3 wasting away on a side street in Dubai Marina. There is little sadder than the sight of a once proud sports car slumped in the gutter, its top down, tyres all but flat and its gleaming black paint job lost beneath an ever-thickening layer of dust.

But in many parts of the city, such a spectacle is a common sight, and just another reminder that we are living through hard times.

“I just think this fellow got hit by the recession, did a runner and left the car behind,” says Tom Otton, 27, a Briton who works in marketing and walks past the neglected vehicle each day.

There is something about dust-covered cars that brings out the graffiti artist in some people. “Police please wash me,” says the message on one of the car’s filthy windows.

“This one’s been here for a few months,” Mr Otton says. “I saw the police taking a look at it a few months go, but nothing since. It’s a bit of a mess, really. They’ve got to get rid of these things.”

“These things” can be found throughout the city, scores of abandoned vehicles some only for the summer, perhaps, but others clearly forever and among them a surprisingly high number of expensive models.

Just down the road from the bereft BMW is a once-golden Volkswagen Bora, slumped in dust-blown contrast to the smart entrance of the Dubai Marina Yacht Club. The scrawlers have done their best to lower the tone even further, drawing lewd images in the dust.

Nearby, an Audi A6 stands in a similar condition. In addition to the mildly offensive drawings, one dust-dauber has anointed the now distinctly unattractive Audi “Sexiest car of the year”.

“It looks really ugly, it just looks really bad, you know,” says Mohammed el Newishy, the administration manager at the yacht club.

He is frustrated by the situation. “It’s a problem for the image, because you come to the yacht club and you see these dusty cars in front,” he says.

The club has called the police to have cars removed, but is still waiting for several to be towed away.

“Basically,” he says, “if a car is in front of the club for more than a couple of days, we report it to the police.”

Like stray dogs, some cars do find their way to police pounds. In one police lot partially hidden behind trees and billboards opposite the Mall of the Emirates, several thousand corralled cars can be glimpsed, waiting in ranks.

Abandoned cars can be found almost anywhere. A tour of car parks in Dubai Marina, Downtown Burj Dubai, Tecom, The Greens and the free parking areas behind DIFC turns up more than 60 neglected and apparently abandoned vehicles.

A check on some of the number plates on the Roads and Transport Authority website reveals that many cars have been abandoned after their owners racked up thousands of dirhams in traffic fines; 19 of the 63 vehicles account for 144 fines, to a total of Dh20,879 (US$5,685).

The worst offender is a white Mercedes E320 that has been parked for months near The Residences, Downtown Burj Dubai. In addition to collecting a lot of dust, since 2005 it has accumulated 79 fines totalling Dh11,390.

The remains of a notice from the Dubai Municipality Waste Management Department still cling tenaciously to the windshield. Although most of the writing has been worn away by the elements, this statement survives: “Under the authority of local order No 11 of 2003 you are hereby requested to remove the vehicle/machine as it is disfiguring the public view and beauty of the city. Kindly ensure that necessary action is taken within ( ) from the date of the notice.”

A few spaces away in the same car park stands another white Mercedes, a C200 Kompressor, in a similarly derelict state. Its owner has three oustanding fines from last year, totalling Dh430. The ever-present, if not particularly inspired, artists have struck: “Please wash me don’t have money” adorns the dusty back window.

Dubai Police declined to comment, but it seems probable that many of the cars were left by people who walked away after losing their jobs, unable to pay off outstanding loans or find a buyer. Used-car dealers say a wave of unwanted vehicles has flooded the market since the financial crisis struck last year, causing prices to plummet.

One issue facing the police is how to decide whether a vehicle has been abandoned, as opposed to having been simply left for some time in one place. Dubai CID is believed to have a unit dedicated to tracking down cars after being alerted by banks.

Nevertheless, Chris Caley, 28, a Briton who lives in Tecom, wonders why one particular silver BMW M3 has gone for half a year without being towed away.

“It’s just been left there,” he says. Over the months, bits of the car, such as the petrol tank cap, have disappeared. “As you can see, it’s been raided for parts.”

His theory is that the authorities may have overlooked the car because it has foreign number plates. A couple of other cars were taken by the police not long ago, he says. “Maybe they’re not taking this one because it’s a Saudi plate.”

The Golden Rule

Number One golden rule in the UAE:

Do not fuck with the locals!

It seems an Iraqi woman forgot this recently when she decided to get into an Emirati’s car and move it from where it was blocking her own car.

Note: Leaving cars unlocked – and sometimes running –  in the UAE is not uncommon. Vehicle theft is extremely rare and gas is cheap!

Why would you risk deportation in order to get out of a car park? What was she thinking?

I will be watching the newspaper to see if the outcome of this trial is published.

Dentist accused of driving woman’s car in parking lot

From Gulf News

By Bassam Za’za’, Senior Reporter
Published: September 05, 2009, 22:57

Dubai: A dentist has admitted that she drove another woman’s vehicle that blocked her way in a parking lot.

The 35-year-old Iraqi pleaded guilty before the Dubai Court of Misdemeanour on the charge of driving the 30-year-old Emirati woman’s vehicle.

The dentist also denied the charge of assaulting the 30-year-old and strongly denied what she described as the Emirati’s baseless allegations that she pushed her twice.

Defending the dentist, lawyer Uday Al Qazwini said: “The incident happened in a mall’s one-direction driveway& the Emirati parked her car in a provocative manner and she intended to block my client’s way and prevent her from driving through.

“She fabricated the assault charge against the defendant, who didn’t even touch her during the incident. During questioning, the Emirati gave an inconsistent statement.”

The Public Prosecution charged the Iraqi with pushing the Emirati twice and driving the latter’s vehicle without her permission.

Al Qazwini said his client is innocent and didn’t have any criminal intention when she drove the woman’s car, “but she did so because the Emirati had intentionally blocked her way”.

“The court should acquit my client according to article 64 of the Federal Penal Code which stipulates that a suspect who is coerced or provoked, physically or emotionally, to commit an offence should not be held liable & In our case, the dentist is the real victim because the Emirati refused to move away her own vehicle, hence she blocked the way and prevented the dentist from driving her car through.”

The Emirati testified: “She beeped her horn repeatedly and flashed her lights for me to unblock the way& I signalled for her to wait until I park. She pushed me before she drove my car. I alerted the police.”

The dentist stated: “She didn’t give me any attention and persistently and provocatively left her car blocking the way that I had to drive her car out of my way& I didn’t touch her and she’s the one who pushed me out of her car.”

A verdict will be heard next week.

Driving in the UAE

Image Source:

Image Source: nomaadic

A friend of mine was recently driving with a young Pakistani man from Dubai to Abu Dhabi.

As was normal for thing young man, he was travelling at speed of between 160km and 180km per hour, about 1 foot behind a 4WD.

As they are ‘cruising’ along the road they pass a car on the side of the road that has crashed and flipped onto it’s roof.

‘How does that happen?’ muses the young man.

And that, for the uninitiated, is what driving in the Middle East is all about!

New Header

We have a new header image – exciterating!

The Corvette Club of Dubai runs these convoys of ‘vettes every month.  We ran across them once and they attract a lot of attention.  Our favourite was the 2 girls in Abayas driving a yellow one.  They were having a ball!

Wish I’d been able to capture it. It might have been my favourite Dubai image yet.

Richard test drove one of these. When he told me he was doing it I said, ‘But you don’t even LIKE muscle cars!’

He said it was lethal – all power and no handling – he could fishtail it at 30km/h. Needless to say, he didn’t buy it.


Corvettes at dusk

GraphJam – Car Distances

song chart memes
see more Funny Graphs

Zebra Crossing Failures in Dubai

There was an article in the Gulf News recently talking about the RTA wanting more pedestrian crossings.

What the comments (see below) on the article highlight is that these crossings are failing to provide the safe passage that was intended.

Note the occasional comment from irate drivers who believe that pedestrians should not have right of way. Ugh!

RTA – Please provide some driver education on this matter urgently!

Police calls for more pedestrian crossings

By Alia Al Theeb, Staff Reporter
Published: May 06, 2007

Your comments

This is what happens in most emirates in the UAE, hardly any motorists stop for people who want to cross at the zebra crossing and then they are forced to go into heavy car traffic.

The planned 17 pedestrian bridges is good news, but I reckon more is needed. The focus should be to remove pedestrians from the streets, not by preventing them but rather giving them separate access. Cost may be an issue, but can be minimized if we get back to basics.
M. S.

Whilst more pedestrian crossings may help, educating people is also needed. On a daily basis people will cross the road in front of me regardless of oncoming traffic, even when there is a pedestrian crossing only three metres away. Teaching pedestrians that they don’t rule the road is a must.
Abu Dhabi,UAE

It is a move in the right direction, but how about installing traffic lights at pedestrian crossings, because lets face it, half the people on the roads do not even care to stop at these crossings. Education plus stricter enforcement is also required.

I think the authorities should enforce strict laws for the pedestrians also, not just for motorists because many accidents are also caused due to fault of the pedestrian rather than the motorist. Even pedestrians have a very important role to play here.

Pedestrians are very callous because of the law that states they have the right of way. Pedestrians should be held equally responsible for causing the accident. Being a driver myself, I find it shocking to see people running across 10-12 lane highways. A driver cannot anticipate someone would be so foolhardy. Even on the streets of Dubai pedestrians cross or stand defiant in front of oncoming cars.

I think all the emirates should do the survey of the roads and find the places where the crossing of pedestrian is the most. According to the survey they should make controlled pedestrian crossing with the signals. I have also experienced that many drivers in UAE think that Zebra crossing does not give any priority for the pedestrians which is wrong. For this a traffic drive should be started by the transport authority to make the drivers aware that it?s their duty to give way to the pedestrians on the zebra crossing. Also heavy fines should be imposed on drivers not abiding by this rule, and it should be considered as a serious driving offense.
Ras Al Khaimah,UAE

I agree that most deaths are caused by people being run over at pedestrian crossings. Last week I was in Dubai near the abra pedestrian crossing there is only a white line on the road but there is no pedestrian crossing signal to show whether pedestrian can cross the road or not. It is a very busy road with people crossing the road to take the boat to go to Bur Dubai. There is a subway crossing there. The authority should close the zebra crossing or provide pedestrian crossing facilities with signals so that illiterate people can see the sign and cross safely.

I had crossed busy roads several times and sometimes I have escaped narrowly from accident. Sometime I had spent more than 1 hour to cross the road all this because of lack of pedestrian crossing at the right places. Especially, we need more underpasses on Sheikh Zayed Road.

It is good thinking on the part of RTA to build pedestrian crossings. But, according to me, building subways for pedestrains is far better than overbridges because it will be easily accessible and more user-friendly. Some of the current overbridges are not easily accessible and thus, some pedestrains are wary of using them.

We have pedestrian crossings in Abu Dhabi but no cars, especially taxis, will slow down when people are ready to cross the road.
Abu Dhabi,UAE

I agree that we need more pedestrian crossings. One place is at Bur Dubai main junction of roads from Sindagha tunnel, Bank street, Bur Dubai bus stand.
R. K.
Colombo,Sri Lanka

The biggest challenge is in educating drivers to stop at pedestrian crossings. I once stopped at a pedestrian crossing when I saw a person waiting to cross the road – it nearly caused a huge accident behind me and created extreme aggression from motorists who hooted and gesticulated angrily. Drivers here give no right of way to pedestrians, unlike Europe, South Africa and USA where the pedestrian comes first.
T. R.

I would suggest that some young policemen be deputed along the major pedestrian crossings for eg. schools, shopping malls, residential areas, to control this issue.
Al Ain,UAE

What is the point of introducing pedestrian crossings when they don’t exist to most drivers in this country, especially taxis. I have never seen a car stop at a pedestrian crossing unless there was a signal and if I stop the others always honk continuously.
Abu Dhabi,UAE

The immediate step to be taken to curb pedestrian death is to build speed breakers where there is a zebra crossing. (Ed: Good idea!) All vehicles, especially taxis are running at high speed in these areas putting pedestrians lives at risk. Secondly, instead of erecting fence along the divider, it should be a concrete wall with a minimum height of 4 feet on top of which there should be sharp metallic grills so that the pedestrians can be prevented from removing the fence manually. This will eventually be a permanent structure too so long as people do not attempt to break the wall which is not an easy task. The pedestrian under passes will be fully utilised if such arrangements are made. Now few people use the pedestrian underpasses which were constructed paying huge amount and is found to be literally empty.
K. R.
Abu Dhabi,UAE

I agree that more pedestrian crossings and speedbreakers are needed to control errant drivers. I have been saved many times on Naif Road pedestrian crossing as drivers ignore the sign and do not allow one to cross, especially during the hot summer days!

This is a nice move. The main problem is that no one has the sense to stop the car when people are crossing the zebra crossing. They have to wait until there is no approaching car to use this privilege. I suggest that there should be a speed breaker before all pedestian crsossings so that cars are forced to slow down reasonably and let the people cross the road. (Ed: Good suggestion!) Tthere is a pedestrian crossing wthout stop light at Hyatt Regency roundabout, which is the most dangerous to cross as cars come so fast after the traffic light is green. They cannot stop and I have never seen anyone stopping at the pedestian crossing. This must be checked.

More crossings is not enough to solve this problem. Many drivers still don’t respect the right of the pedestrians and do not have the courtesy to stop at the crossings. What are they going to do about this?
S. Al K.
Al Ain,UAE