By Azmat Haroon
Doha: The Pearl-Qatar management has come under criticism from its residents for failing to stop reckless driving in its residential compounds that is said to be going on for the past several months.
After a concerned resident sent The Peninsula an email, this newspaper spoke to several residents, many of whom said they no longer felt it was safe for them or their children to walk outside their homes.
Residents argue it is ‘madness’ to use family residential areas for daredevil stunts.
“The level of perilous behaviour by the local drivers and motorcyclists has come to a point that we no longer feel safe driving on the streets at the Pearl after 7pm, especially on Thursday, Friday and Saturday evenings,” one resident said seeking anonymity.
Motorcycle riders apparently first began crowding the Pearl during Ramadan this year, often performing dangerous stunts and stopping traffic. The riders created nuisance for many residents, particularly the children. While luxury car drivers continue to race on the small roads of the residential compounds since Eid-Al-Fitr, the situation has become worse over the past few weeks. Alexandra, resident of Tower 24, said she feels uncomfortable in her own neighbourhood as some drivers harass her when she goes out for a walk. “I can’t walk my dog in the evening anymore in my area as I get harassed by local men who try to talk to me as they drive slowly next to me as I walk.”
She said that she would leave the Pearl if she could as ‘clearly the residents of this area mean very little to those who apparently take our opinions and feelings into consideration.’ Last Thursday, two Land Cruiser cars were seen driving on the Porto Arabia Road side-by-side as two motorbike riders performed stunts ahead, while one even dared to do a headstand. Another driver in a Ferrari was trailing the Land Cruisers.
Residents said that they felt as if the hands of Pearl-Qatar’s internal security officers from The Shield were ‘tied’ as they did not have the authority to put them down.
Following complaints from the residents and reports in the local media, signs barring motorcycle riders to drive after 10pm were posted around the Pearl, which according to the residents, serve no practical purpose.
Many also said that they have reported the incidents to the traffic department several times but that has changed little.
One onlooker said that she saw the police handing out fine to a driver, who simply said ‘thank you’ and returned to drive around ‘the circuit’ once the police vehicle left.
One resident said that she counted as many as 16 motorcycles racing their engines from one end of Porto Arabia near Tower 31 to the stop light at Tower 16 on a Friday.
“Repeated phone calls to the police have produced nothing. The situation only worsens,” the resident said in the email.
Alexandra also called on the officials from The Shield to organise a meeting for the residents and explain why they were letting outside guests use the residential area as a racing track.
Attempts to get comments from The Shield and local police by this newspaper failed.