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Tuesday, March 2, 2021

Opinion: Bicycles ‘unsuitable solution’ for Education City

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As Qatar Foundation moves closer to establishing a car-free campus in Education City, it has introduced bicycles to help students get around.

Though the move has been hailed by many, some students are pushing back against the idea. In a guest post published in The Daily Q, Northwestern University in Qatar student Amna Al-Saadi explains why she thinks bicycles will never work on campus.

Her argument is based on two main points: the searing heat, and cultural concerns. The former is a concern because for at least six or seven months of the year, it is hard to spend much time outdoors, Al-Saadi said:

Standing outside for just five minutes will melt your face. The exertion of riding a bicycle is intolerable. And no one wants to sit next to a smelly, sweaty student. Though the weather cools down from November to March, bicycles are still not the most prudent solution to moving around EC.

She also pointed out the difficulties of riding a bike while wearing national dress, or even skirts or dresses:

As a Qatari, I will never ride a bicycle. It is neither safe nor easy to ride a bicycle while wearing an abaya or a thoub. They can get tangled in the tires, and it’s not easy to peddle while wearing either attire. So, you have to either lift up your abaya and thoub or to tie it around your waist. But, people wear the abaya to cover up; tying it around your waist defeats it’s purpose.

The other option to get around that is currently available to students, who by and large are no longer allowed to park on campus, is to take shuttle buses, which students say are often unreliable and late.

In the long term, QF is launching construction on a people-mover that it hopes to complete by 2016.

Thoughts?

Credit: Photo by Alanna Alexander/The Daily Q

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