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FEATURE ❘ EGYPT


reported over 15,000 motor accidents in 2013-14 alone, with an estimated 40 road deaths per 100,000 of the population. This is roughly twice the world average, according to the World Health Organization. It’s worth noting, though, that nearly 60 % of fatal accidents last year happened to car drivers and passengers, or to pedestrians. Cycling road deaths accounted for only 2%


of all road fatalities. Of course it might be argued that the low percentage is because the number of cyclists on the roads is still relatively small; but some might find the figure reassuring.


Egypt is by no means the world’s most dangerous place to cycle – a doubtful honour claimed by the US state of Florida. In any case, Egyptian cyclists have quite a few techniques for surviving in the city traffic. Using side streets wherever possible is one simple strategy. Others recommend use of crazy-looking hand signals, combined with frequent recourse to bells and hooters. ‘Pretend you’re a car,’ one experienced rider writes online.


The Cairo Cyclists understand the needs, and the nerves,


of beginner cyclists in this challenging environment, and the club offers a weekly beginners’ ride every Friday. More experienced riders accompany and advise newcomers to the group, giving the new members reassurance as they ‘build up their abilities.’ One cycling website specialises in recommending the shortest and safest cycling route between any two points in Cairo. If lifting up your bike and hoisting it over railings, or carrying it for yards around a building site is part of the journey that only adds to the adventure of the ride. For female cyclists, the challenges of the Egyptian road are even greater than for men. A woman on a bicycle in Egypt is often the


58 www.cyclingworldmag.com


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