Dedicated lanes for cyclists in Bahrain welcomed

Country has updated its roads design manual in a bid to cut the number of fatalities

  

The heartbroken widow of British expatriate triathlete and leading banker Allan Sword, who was killed in a hit-and-run accident whilst cycling, has welcomed moves to make the roads in Bahrain safer for riders.

Works, Municipalities Affairs and Urban Planning Minister Essam Khalaf, has revealed that dedicated cycling lanes will be introduced in the future, as reported in the GDN. The country has updated its roads design manual in a bid to cut the number of fatalities.

“I’m so grateful that the Bahrain government has taken steps to ensure the safety of those who cycle for recreation and for transportation purposes,” said Corrine, 40, who works for a private airline and lives in Amwaj Islands.

“Clearly marked and visually and physically separated cycle lanes will create a safe environment for motorists and cyclists alike, whilst promoting fitness and an environmentally-clean mode of transport.

“I hope these changes will keep another family from the heartache those who loved Allan have suffered.”

Mr Sword, 48, died while cycling with friends early one Friday morning last November near Hamala.

The 39-year-old driver involved in the tragedy fled the scene but was arrested an hour later.

He has subsequently been sentenced to a maximum penalty of three years in jail for death by speeding and lost his military positions and benefits, Mrs Sword revealed after being invited to attend the court hearing with a translator.

“Honestly, it was a terrible loss not just to all who loved him but also all who knew him,” said Mrs Sword. “He was an amazing man, father, husband, son, uncle, nephew, friend, colleague and teammate.

“He touched the life of all who met him. He had a contagious laugh and cracking sense of humour that you couldn’t help but smile when he was about.

“He was also kind and compassionate to all. We all miss him so much.

“I know many cyclists have felt extremely vulnerable in the wake of Allan’s death and I hope these steps will help provide confidence to those who love the sport.”

Cyclists will soon be able to pedal safely in a dedicated lane that will be constructed on the Bahrain South Ring Road project. The 10km lane will stretch from the Gulf of Bahrain, near Al Jazayer beach, towards the south.

Mr Khalaf also said cycling lanes were being constructed in urban areas by expanding walkways as well. Work is currently underway in Juffair, for example.

Until then Mrs Sword continues to encourage all road-users to be vigilant and considerate of others.

“It is vital that motorists are aware of the danger and vulnerability cyclists face,” she said. “Even when cycle lanes are in place, road safety takes commitment from all.”

Mrs Sword aims to continue raising awareness to make Bahrain’s roads safer. Further details will be announced later.

Mai.alkhatib@gulfweekly.com

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