Driving at KAUST

Driving at KAUST is less hair-raising than in Jeddah, but there are definite challenges, especially for bike riders.

The KAUST Rules and Regulations were sent out some time ago in an announcement. If you have misplaced that missive, here is a PDF copy:

There have been a number of questions about the Traffic Regulations raised since the announcement. Please see "Traffic Regulations Questions" on the page ??? New QUESTIONS ???

One recent question has been ANSWERED: QUESTION: Is Right turn on Red allowed on Campus?
  • ANSWERED: "A right turn is allowed at traffic lights even if the light is red, unless there is a RED ARROW on the traffic light. If that is the case you are NOT allowed to turn right. Care must always be exercised no matter what type of junction it is."

Here are the Traffic Regulations, taken from the .PDF:
---( start)---
Following are the highlights of the traffic policy.

Minimum Traffic Safety Requirements: Drivers are responsible for the overall safety of themselves, passengers and all other road users. They must abide by all traffic regulations and behave courteously at all times to pedestrians. The following rules should be observed, but are not exhaustive and other traffic and safety rules may apply to ensure prudent driving practices:

1. Drivers of motor vehicles must, at all times, demonstrate the necessary competence and skill to operate their vehicles. Possession of a valid driving license or other means acceptable to KAUST is required. Under no circumstances shall a minor less than 16 years of age be allowed to operate a motor vehicle on campus roads.
2. All vehicles must be maintained in a safe operating condition.
3. Drivers and their passengers must wear seatbelts. Parents are responsible for providing child safety restraints while transporting their children.
4. Vehicles must not be left unattended with their engines running.
5. Drivers must adhere to posted speed limits.
6. Drivers must obey all traffic lights, stop signs and all other traffic signs.
7. Drivers must use low-beam (dipped) headlights when driving at dusk, during the hours of darkness or during inclement weather.
8. Drivers must dim vehicle lights when approaching security gates or checkpoints.
9. Drivers are prohibited from using mobile telephones or similar communication devices while driving.
10. Drivers and passengers of motor scooters, motorcycles, and other similar vehicles must wear helmets while driving.
11. Motor vehicles must be parked in appropriate parking areas only. Vehicles that obstruct traffic flow may be towed.
The above requirements are binding while driving on campus. Community members should obey all traffic laws of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia while driving outside the campus.

Biking at KAUST

Biking is very enjoyable at KAUST.. mostly level and nice roads and scenery going by.

Rumor has it that bike riders are REQUIRED to have a helmet. This is not in the TrafficRegs. Anyone have a definitive answer / source?

The most dangerous biking area at KAUST is going over the bridges to the island. There are definitely only one lane. Some cars and trucks will try to pass you right on the bridge. A child had their handlebars hit by a truck recently on a bridge. The only solution: Ride Right in the MIDDLE of the lane over the bridge until you are clear and there is room to safely pass you. The other issue is that there are no cuts to ride onto the sidewalk anywhere near the bridges, so unless you get on the sidewalk far in advance, it's tough.

Driving in Jeddah

Driving in Jeddah is a high-energy experience, even heart-stopping at times...-Terry

It is just chaotic unless you have driven in the middle east; no one follows lanes: they just cut across randomly without indicators (sometimes even the heavy trucks do this). Its a completely new driving experience which a only very careful and experienced driver can handle. Road accidents in Saudi Arabia are the worst in the world; don't try driving here unless you are an experienced driver.

Options to Rent A Car to Jeddah

From KAUST Campus:
Saudi Oger -CALL 959 to book a self drive to Jeddah
Vehicles Available: GMC Yukon SUV 500/DAY-250KM free,with each additional KM charged at 0.50SAR. [current as of 6/8/2012]
Ford Crown Victoria- Rent 200 SAR/DAY-200KM free,with each additional KM charged at 0.50SAR.

They also offer cars on monthly and yearly basis for lease,expensive though.They also have cars with drivers to Jeddah.

Hanco - there number cannot be reached through 959 will update the number soon-Transport Manager is Tanveer
Hanco is private transport operator like Budget and Avis in Saudi Arabia (http://www.hanco-ksa.com/).They have an office is located in transportation building 1 near CSOB Building on KAUST Campus.They have a range of vehicles based on the price range starting from 120SAR/DAY for Toyata Yaris,small car to sedans and luxury cars.Drop by their office to book a car or look on the facilities.kaust.edu.sa website for their current rates and phone numbers. Be sure to ask them for flyer containing list of cars available with prices-they normally forget to give you that,it contains information of round clock service centres in case of emergency and other outlets location in jeddah in case you wanna drop the car at Jeddah.They have cars you can pick up at the airport and drop at KAUST.

I rented a Mercury Milan from Hanco Jeddah-Sary Street since KAUST Hanco office i didn't have vehicles that particular day for about 120SAR/Day with 150 free Kms with option of dropping the car in KAUST Hanco office.It is very good option if you don't own a car and want to buy things in Jeddah that the Mall buses don't take you to too.

From Jeddah:
There are number of rent-a-car options in Jeddah from Budget, Avis, and other local services; the only problem is that the car you pick in Jeddah has to be dropped in Jeddah (so you lose 80 KMs in travelling to KAUST or Thuwal and back if you rent the car for number of days). I believe you can also rent ferraris and BMWs in Jeddah (of course for a big price).

-Abrar (syedabrar.ahmed@kaust.edu.sa)

Let's try to write some practical advice here ASAP