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21 April 2024

Bikes Vs. Cars: The fight for UAE’s limited parking spaces is on

By Majorie van Leijen

It is a frustrating sight for somebody trying to find a parking space for his car – a perfectly located spot exactly the size of his vehicle, but with a parked motor bike bang in the middle of it.

For motor bikers, however, the parking spot looks just as appealing.
And since there are no special parking spaces designated for motor bikes in a majority of parking lots, the middle of this available one seems the best logical option.

Frustrated car owners accuse bike rides of ‘illegal parking’, complaining that the already scarcely available parking spots are now being occupied by especially the motor bikes of delivery boys.

“I would like to report the illegal parking of delivery bikes in the area where I am staying. I ended up paying traffic fines for no fault of mine because of these vehicles,” complains Vinnu Mammen, an Abu Dhabi resident.

However, little is clear over where motor bikes are supposed to park.

“There are no clear rules; sometimes I get a ticket when I park in a designated parking space, just as a car would. At other times, I get fined when I park on the sidewalk,” says a biker in Dubai who prefers to go with the nickname ‘Princess’.

According to an RTA source, parking is illegal when a motorbike is parked in the middle of the car parking space, while it is accepted when the bike is put to rest on the side of the parking spot, next to or between the parked car(s).

However, rules do not really apply to motorbikes used for delivery, the source adds. When these bikes are parked on car parking spots for a couple of minutes, this will be excused, he claims.

“I do not know of any rule, and I have never been fined for illegal parking,” says Iqbal, who has been working as a delivery boy in Dubai for four years. “If I find a parking spot, I will use it; otherwise, I park my bike on the sidewalk,” he says.

“We tell our employees that we will not pay for the fine if they get one for illegal parking, so it is their responsibility. I know that some of the employees park illegally, because they get paid more if they deliver more. It is within their interest to park their bike quickly,” says Suleman Khan, Chief Operating Officer of Hot'n Spicy Restaurant.

When asked what illegal parking would entail, he answers that parking on a parking spot designated for cars would be legal, because motorbikes reserve a similar space on the road. But resting the bike on the sidewalk would be against the rules, he argues.

Andrea Capoccia, owner and founder of Pizza Connection, has a similar understanding of the rules. According to him, only designated parking spaces are supposed to be used by the delivery boys, but often these spaces are not available.

“It is a real issue. Especially in popular areas such as Marina or Palm Jumeirah, it is difficult for the delivery boys to find a parking space, and they sometimes park their bike on the sidewalk.

“We get fined for it every now and then with Dh200. But mostly the authorities are lenient towards these boys and they let it go.”