Municipal councillors are setting the wheels of change in motion by designating bicycle lanes across Hamad Town.

The Northern Municipal Council has approved a proposal to have striped or separated areas on the roadway designated for use by cyclists.

It comes amid a surge in the number of cyclists on Bahrain’s roads as people have taken up new hobbies during the Covid-19 pandemic.

The council’s services and public utilities committee chairman Mohammed Al Dhaen said the proposal aims to prevent traffic accidents and comes at a time when hundreds of cyclists are taking up the sport amid closures of gyms and fitness centres to stem the spread of Covid-19.

“There are obvious dangers with cyclists on public roads as they could collide with pedestrians or cars that can lead to serious injuries and fatalities,” said Mr Al Dhaen.

“Designating a special lane for bicycles will prevent traffic obstructions while encouraging more people to take up the sport and stay active.”

“It is crucial to ensure bicycles are provided with the required reflectors, headlights and rear safety lights for the safety of the rider.”

The proposal was reviewed by the council’s services and public utilities committee and will cover Hamad Town’s upper and eastern regions.

The GDN previously reported that bicycle shops in Bahrain were out of stock due to the unprecedented surge in demand.

Shop owners revealed they were facing challenges as many exporters had shut down due to the pandemic while others drastically increased their prices.

The council decision comes days after World Bicycle Day was observed globally on June 3.

It aims to promote the affordable and sustainable means of transportation that reduces the risk of heart disease, stroke, certain cancers, diabetes and even death, according to the World Health Organisation.

The United Nations continues to encourage member states to develop a culture of cycling and organise initiative like national bike rides, while promoting pedestrian safety.

Meanwhile, the council’s technical committee chairman Abdullah Al Qubaisi highlighted the importance of implementing the proposal on a single road before presenting a proposal that covers two constituencies.

“We need to select a street in Hamad Town to implement this proposal because some (streets) are old design while others are modern,” said Mr Al Qubaisi.

“If we ask this model to be applied to an entire town then the authorities concerned will require a further study that will delay the process.

“We need to choose a road and implement the proposal instead of pushing a blanket proposal that will be difficult to implement.”

The council unanimously approved the proposal which will now be referred to Works, Municipalities Affairs and Urban Planning Minister Essam Khalaf for review.

Furthermore, the council also approved two proposals to allocate plots of land to be used as headquarters for Al Janabiya Charity Society and Al Quraiya Charity society, while also approving three proposals to develop walkways in the governorate.

In addition, councillors unanimously approved a proposal to build mosques in Salman Town’s only two occupied and completed Blocks 580 and 583.

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