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Motorcycles: From novelty to necessity
Published in The Saudi Gazette on 21 - 06 - 2014

Saudi Gazette report
Motorcycles have become noticeably visible on Saudi roads and it's not just people looking for an adrenaline rush but even risk-averse drivers are using motorcycles as a faster way to commute and enjoy weekend rides with other motorcyclists, Al-Hayat Arabic daily reported.
For the Kingdom's youth, motorcycles are still a form of novelty; young Saudi men are often seen competing in illegal street races while also attracting the unwanted attention of law enforcement. Riders are known to spend thousands of riyals on accessorizing their bikes, which they also use as a more practical means of transportation, especially during peak traffic hours.
Mohannad Baziz owns a car and a motorcycle. He finds it much more convenient to drive a car when going to work or visiting family and only rides his motorcycle when visiting friends and going on a long ride or to the beach.
“It is much more enjoyable to ride a motorcycle and much more practical in heavy traffic. Also, motorcycle accidents are far less common than car accidents. Having said that, wearing a jacket and a helmet when riding a motorcycle is very important to enhance safety,” he said.
Mahmoud Hamad, a motorcycle enthusiast, said he commutes between work and home on his motorcycle. He lives in Madinah and works in Jeddah and sometimes rides his motorcycle to neighboring countries such as Egypt, Jordan and the Gulf countries.
“I keep my motorcycle well-maintained and spend a great deal of money on replacing worn-out parts to make sure that I always have the best equipment and machinery installed,” said Hamad.
Ahmad Malak and Jawad Abdulaty are leaders of two different motorcycle clubs in the city. They estimate that there are dozens of such clubs all over the country.
Membership in these clubs varies between 20 and 50 riders a club, with meetings taking place weekly so riders can tour and show off their skills.
Col. Zaid Al-Hamzy, the official spokesperson of Jeddah Traffic Department, said motorcyclists are subject to the same penalties as car drivers if they fail to adhere to the Kingdom's traffic laws.
“Motorcyclists are treated like any other driver — they must not break the speed limit or commit any other type of violation,” he said.
Motorcyclist Wael Balkhy said many horrific and fatal accidents occur due to reckless motorcyclists who do not adhere to safety and security procedures such as wearing a helmet, jacket and riding within the legal speed limit.

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