Ban on bikes in parks, beaches; public wants dedicated track

The ban on use of bicycles in public parks and beaches in the capital drew a sharp response on Tuesday.

While some citizens and residents argued that dedicated areas should be provided for children under a particular age instead of placing a total ban, Muscat Municipality on Tuesday confirmed that the entry of all kinds of bikes and bicycles is banned at public parks, gardens, and beaches in Muscat.

The decision is based on the local order 97/32 to ensure the protection of public utilities of the municipality including parks, gardens, and public beaches. The municipality said that riding both bicycles and motorcycles inside parks pose risks and inconvenience to the visitors. “The decision was issued after taking into account that such activities can lead to the destruction of the natural landscape, including plants and flowers, due to the regular passage of these bikes over them, apart from posing safety risks to the visitors”, the municipality said in a statement while announcing the ban.

The civic body clarified that under its supervision, bicycle rental services have been started at the Qurm Natural Park, fully managed by an Omani SME.
Routes to be followed by the bicycle riders are determined by the municipality. Responding to the ban, an Omani parent said that there should be designated track for bicycle riders.

“Children should be allowed if they want to use their free time for cycling. For these purposes, there should be dedicated tracks with adequate safety measures. At the same time, children should ensure that they use helmets and stay away from banned places,” said an Omani parent on social media.

Another parent argued that a total ban is not the solution to such problems. Abdullah, a parent mocked at the contradiction in the statement. “While the municipality stated that the cycling ban is to ensure the safety of the park goers and the property, it announced the launch of rental services through private operators,” the parent said.

There should be some action to organize using bicycles on the roads, said a Facebook post.
Article 2 of the Local Order 32/97 stated that ban is imposed to avoid damage municipal facilities, equipment, and supplies, whether by tampering, cracking, sabotage, etc.
These include irrigation systems and water connections, toilet supplies and connections, electricity meters, water and telephone lines, chairs, umbrellas, games and lighting, parks, squares, public squares, streets, address boards, and any other belonging of the municipality.

Oman Observer