Dubai Consumer Mirror

Thursday, June 29, 2006

Reflections on Accidents

I just heard 2 car breaking screeches, followed by a bang. “Oh boy, another accident” I was telling myself.

I live right on Al-ittihad road. For those who don't know the infamous 7 km stretch, it is the main artery that links Dubai with Sharjah. It is known as one of the busiest streets in the Gulf (if not the Middle East) with about 500,000 trips made on it everyday.

Anyhow, I jumped to the balcony to see how many cars is commissioned off the streets today. There is was, a red car rear-ended a white one at front.

But there was a man on the ground, and it wasn't one of the drivers.

The white car front had a huge dent with splashes of blood all over the front hood. It doesn’t look good at all.

The driver of the white car was still in his car - in a state of shock obviously. The driver of the red car and people in the streets were attending to the man on the floor. His ensemble was in that recognizable blue color. Yes, another construction worker crossing from another wrong place.

The injured man was in motion, which was a bit of a relief to be honest. The guy in the white car managed to get himself out of his vehicle but was on the phone all the time. I could swear I can see him trembling from my 7th floor (8 if you count 1 mezzanine floor).

Astonishingly, the paramedics were on the scene literally minutes after the accidents. They placed a couple of temporary casts on one arm and leg and loaded the victim into the van and zoomed off.

By then there were 4 police patrols one the scene, doing all the traffic CSI stuff.

2 question I would like to raise here:

(1) Why aren't there any pedestrian crossings in this part of town? This is 5 lane highway on each side that cuts thru a heavily residential area. There are residential buildings, 10s of restaurants, parks, supermarkets, mosques and about 4 or 5 shopping malls that are scattered all over both sides of this busy road. Why the hell aren't there any pedestrian crossing bridges of example?

(2) Can someone please please please educate the relatively new-to-the-country construction workers to do anything to avoid crossing roads that are over 2 lanes wide in this place?

Let them know that drivers here are not like ones from where they come from. Drivers who learned how to drive in Dubai have crap responses and reflexes to any sudden changes in road conditions.

Wanna see reflexes? try driving on the streets of Cairo, Egypt or India. There seems to be some hidden language or code of understanding between the people who cross heavy roads like Salah Salem, Al Haram or Gam3at El Dowal street and the ones behind the wheel. That code keeps both alive and well.

In India, expect anything on the road. Cars in opposite direction, people, cattle, carts, wild animals... you name it, it can be on the road. Pedestrians in India have more confidence in their drivers know that the drivers know what to do if they get caught with in sight.

But here in Dubai, Non of that my friend.

Proof? check out traffic news after 2 minute of rain. Everyone start bumping into each other like friggen morons on wheels.


  • I've witnessed quite a few accidents involving a pedestrian versus a ton or two of metal vehicle going from 80-240 km/h to 0 in the space of a few seconds. Not nice.

    I think what they really need to do is begin fining people heavily for crossing the road illegally; by fining people I actually mean fining; they probably already have laws against jay-walking etc, but they actually need to be out there fining people and raising awareness.

    Its all well and good fining people, but only if they have a suitable alternative, i.e. a pedestrian bridge as you’ve already suggested, or some kind of a free/very cheap shuttle service.

    On SZR I believe they actually have a free shuttle service, but I’m not sure what hours it runs, what it’s capacity is, how often it runs, what it looks like or anything; they've also built barriers in the middle of the road to stop people from crossing in the first place.

    By Blogger samuraisam, at June 29, 2006 at 12:37 PM  

  • You brought back so many memories from the time I used to live in Dubai

    This street is literally the worst I have ever driven through .. they need to do everything they can to stop idiots from crossing the street .. not only build bridges but also install barriers to prevent pedastrians from even thinking to take the fatal trip .. because if they only put a bridge .. people will think they are smarter and that they can cross the street unharmed and you will still witness many of these avoidable accidents

    This is really serious and as for drivers in Dubai, you are 100% right .. they really have 0 common sense when it comes to driving in a busy street like this one or Sheikh Zayed

    By Anonymous Khalidah, at June 29, 2006 at 1:04 PM  

  • Highways are high speed zones for a reason. They should never be placed slap bang in the centre of residential zones; the only people who've managed this are the Japanese with their tiered monoliths.

    And I don't think perpetuating the poor driver behaviour of Arab/Asian countries here is any benefit either. While I think it is absolutely essential for drivers here to have more training than the utter pap they currently receive, no amount of reflexes can save you or your victim.

    In other words, plan out your road network organicly and intelligently and separate highways from regular roads. And for the sake of pete, stop jaywalkers by any means necesary. They may grumble about fines but I'm sure they like being alive.

    PS: Having lived here my whole life, I knew nothing about driving in the rain or indeed, any kind of low grip surface. Having driven since in both snow and torrential snowpours, that shit deserves respect, so the only surety is to drive s-l-o-w-l-y. Oh, and newsflash! Big 4WDs do not handle 'better' in greasy conditions - especially when most people keep them locked in 2WD.

    By Blogger marwan, at June 29, 2006 at 2:11 PM  

  • Moryarti san,

    very true and very correct...

    for the most part, drivers who learn here, just don't know how to react to varying road conditions.

    add above to the excessive speeds and you have a recipe for road disaster = traffic accidents resulting in injuries and many cases deaths..

    By Blogger hannibal, at June 29, 2006 at 4:07 PM  

  • in Amman.. we have pedestrian bridges to cross the road and no one uses them.. in fact you always see them crossing the road directly under the bridge

    3'ba2 mostaf7el

    By Blogger Wael Attili, at June 29, 2006 at 4:11 PM  

  • I live right on Al-ittihad road.

    I think you dropped this: "Sh"

    By Blogger secretdubai, at June 29, 2006 at 4:13 PM  

  • These highways need proper pedestrian bridges as a matter of urgency - it doesn't take a rocket scientist to work that out.


    By Blogger Desert Lady, at June 29, 2006 at 4:59 PM  

  • I believe that solving this problem by building pedestrian bridges is a lot cheaper and easier than turning see into land and then building malls and skyscrapers on it .. sa7?

    By Anonymous Khalidah, at June 29, 2006 at 5:21 PM  

  • *see = sea

    By Anonymous Khalidah, at June 29, 2006 at 5:29 PM  


    Word is already spreading. Check out travel forums and you'll see that potential visitors are beginning to say they've heard the traffic is very dangerous.

    Moryarti, it's moronic stupidity all round isn't it. The 'planning' of the road system, the standard of driving, the suicide squads dashing across, the lack of policing...

    By Blogger Seabee, at June 29, 2006 at 5:34 PM  

  • It is so true.. Building a fence is ideal, but can't have fences without a pedestrian bridge.

    Ditto Sam, laws have to be a bit more firm on Jaywalking. In Kuwait, and i know this for a fact, if you hit someone crossing a highway, you -as a driver- are completely off the hock. Which makes total sense because you are on a highway.

    And like Marwan and the rest said, when you are on a highway, there is little thing that you can do in such situations.

    Because sometimes the laws of physics beat the laws of traffic.

    By Blogger moryarti, at June 29, 2006 at 8:39 PM  

  • Extremely disturbing... I have a video from Qatar aimed to create awareness in youth and their driving manners. Seems it is as bad there.

    What happened to the poor man I wonder, did he make it?

    By Blogger Shaykhspeara Sha'ira, at June 29, 2006 at 10:39 PM  

  • I just find the whole road infrastructure here horrible. Like someone mentioned before, highways are not meant to be smack in the middle of a residential zone....or in an area where cars are constantly getting on and off the highway (like Sheikh Zayed road).

    And 6-lane roads are not meant to be crossed on foot! What scares me even more is seeing people crossing the highway on the Abu-Dhabi-Dubai road....and to think that some people risk their lives every day! Horrible!

    By Blogger Dubai Sunshine, at June 29, 2006 at 10:42 PM  

  • Morons on wheels is correct. Why the police do nothing about it is beyond me. Listing the numbers of tickets issued in the Gulf News does not a safety campaign make.

    Allegedly the police patrol daily - I've never seen a single car pull anyone over in Dubai, ever, in 5 years of living here.

    By Blogger redstar, at June 30, 2006 at 3:01 AM  

  • You know what the sad part is? The driver of the car that hit that pedestrian trying to cross a 5 lane highway will go to jail for a minimum of 6 months and pay a fine no less than Dha 100,000

    all because some idiot decided to cross the road

    By Blogger Herlock Sholmes, at June 30, 2006 at 1:05 PM  

  • Your man was shaking?
    I am still shaking from my kamikazee construction worker.
    Coming down that road from media city -muroor road is it?- 12 in the afternoon rushing home, out of nowhere this maniac literally leaped onto the road. My heart stopped as I knew I was going to hit him bad, when in the flick of any eye, in one freaky crazy swerve, he actually swung back on to the divider.
    I barely got home,I was shaking that bad and didn't dare step out all day I got so freaked.

    By Blogger kaya, at July 2, 2006 at 12:13 AM  

  • the funniest thing i read here is the comment from wael in amman.. :)

    By Blogger BuJ, at July 2, 2006 at 2:10 AM  

  • Can't help thinking of those "idiots", "kamikaze maniacs"..."suicide squads"...

    ...wonder why they do it? it just because they'te too damn cheapskate to fork out Dh 12 or 15 for a cab to take them there via the nearest available u-turn/signal while their supervisor's already on the other side waiting for them to begin the shovelling? Or because the only way to get water/cup of tea/lunch is to take their lives in their hands? Ain't they never heard of room service? Huh!

    Today's puzzle:

    Worker is on the Wafi side of the raod to garhoud bridge and has to get to the Al Wasl Hospital side or his supervisor's going to dock his salary. Sun is scorching. Which way, and how long, does it take him to to get across, safely, sanely and non-idiotically? Where exactly?

    P.S. Today's puzzle is also yesterday's puzzle and will carry forward unil it is solved.

    Note: SZR does not have a free shuttle. It used to be free, now it costs Dh 1.50, and operates at 20-minute intervals. The round trip could take up to an hour, including waiting (that's a kinda luxury for a worker...1 hour??!! His supervisor will have his hide!)

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at July 2, 2006 at 2:50 PM  

  • 21 people dead today in an accident on emirates road. I bet you $100 that you won't hear about it in any newspaper!!

    By Blogger Herlock Sholmes, at July 4, 2006 at 11:33 AM  

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