This video reporting on bike commuters in Dammam, Saudi Arabia is fascinating on so many levels. It’s in Arabic, but English subtitles are available.
Khalid Alsaqabi, who I think produced this video, says he commutes by bike so there’s more room on the road “so elders can commute with ease using cars.” In other words, he seems to selflessly recognize the benefit of “one less car” for other users of the road.
I’ve heard of the fatalistic attitude many Muslim Arabians have about personal safety. Alsaqabi articulates this to some degree with repeated invocations that his safety is in the hands of Allah. But he adds, “Bicycle driving has its influence on your safety when you are on the road. The more you are visible to traffic and in the middle of your lane, the more your safety increases.”
Alsaqabi’s young protege Abdulaziz notes that “The bicycle has more right than the car to use the road. The bicycle is weaker than the car; the car is heavy and the source of accidents and troubles. In Sharia law, the right belongs to the weaker first, before the strong.”
He continues on this fascinating train of thought: “Giving Salaam (peace) is the responsibility of pedestrians over those who are static, and the responsibility of drivers over pedestrians. Roads are the rights of pedestrians first, not cars. Weakest, then the weaker, then the strong. Pedestrians, cyclists, mopeds, motorcyclists, buses, and — lastly — cars! What is common is that roads are for cars and this is against Islam and logic!”