Archive | Traffic

Beirut’s New Bike Lane is Just Impractical

It has been less than 10 days since the unveiling of Beirut’s first bike lane and it is already proving to be impractical, not only because drivers are unsurprisingly ignoring it, but also for the simple fact that it was set up on the left side of the road whereas bikers are obliged by traffic laws to ride on the right side of the road and on the bike lane where it exists. The result is an experience as the one you can see in the below video.

The problem lies in the fact that the lane seems to have been set up in a way not to disturb the valet parking guys who occupy the right lane day and night. You just can’t expect something to function correctly when you start it wrong… In my opinion, the municipality and Beirut by Bike are using this bike lane thing as a stunt to appear like they’re doing something for the city while they know beforehand that no one will make use of it, and best of all, it costs nothing to draw lines on the road!

We can barely fit cars in our street, let alone creating bike lanes, so in order to make that happen the municipality must first work on rehabilitating the roads, and in if it’s impossible then I think they better focus on improving something else and take proper credit for it.

video via Mohamad Cheblak

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Driving In and Out of Beirut – Near Death Experiences Everyday

This video is ~7 minutes of pure horror to anybody into traffic management. A Lebanese YouTuber (Nash Suleiman) recorded his journey in and out of Beirut (from and to Choueifat as it shows) and documented the violations people and himself do everyday.

Just like everyone, I became accustomed to the chaotic driving in this country. But this video lets you observe things from a different perspective, and at one point as you watch you can’t but wonder how on earth do we reach our destination in one piece every time we get into a car… and this by the way made me think that this is one of the main reasons I am currently looking to move into an apartment within Beirut. I basically go daily through almost the same routes that show in the video and I am hating it by the day due to the recklessness of other drivers and the violations that I sometimes feel forced to make. I am sure those who commute to Beirut from other areas like the mountains or Jounieh and the areas beyond can also relate.

This video also incidentally proves that relying on the new traffic law alone to reduce road accidents is utter bullshit. As Nash mentioned at the end, safer roads is a responsibility that each and everyone of us has to bear.

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Beirut Just Got Its First Bike Lane

In a public post on Facebook, Jawad Sbeity the owner of Beirut by Bike shared some photos from Waygand street showing the setup of the first bike lane in Beirut.

It wasn’t clear where exactly does the lane start and where does it end, nor the streets that will cover or when will it be finalized, nevertheless it’s definitely some good to those who take their bikes around the downtown.

However, the only and most important concern remains whether driver will acknowledge this bike lane or not. Waygand street gets quite busy during the day with some shops there have valet parking service and most of the time you find cars parked on the right lane which narrows the road… so whether you like it or not drivers will have no option but to drive over that bike lane especially during rush hour. Still, neither Sbeity nor the municipality can be blamed for that, but rather the lack of urban planning that should have provisioned wider streets around Beirut.

Anyway, let’s see how long will this lane live on!

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