Category Archives: Automotive

It’s Ok For Some Valet Parking Guys To Park Illegally In Beirut

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Every time I’m heading from Achrafieh to Beirut Souks, most of the traffic is caused by valet parking guys from Annahar building till we get to the souks. It’s either people stopping in the middle of the road to give their cars to the valet, or the valet parallel parking or even double parallel parking the cars. As a result, you have a 3-lane road turned into barely one lane while the cops stand there and do nothing, or at least that’s what we thought.

As it turns out, one of the cops has apparently agreed to only fine drivers that parked illegally but didn’t give their car to the valet parking. So if the valet parks illegally it’s fine but if anyone else dares parallel park he will get fined within 5 minutes. That’s what happened with Rizk Khoury who reported his story to Annahar and stated that the cop clearly told him that he got fined because he didn’t give his car to the valet. The ISF promised to follow up this case and punish the cop in question but this is not enough as valet parking companies should not be allowed to block roads in the first place and operate the way they are. Moreover, the park meter spots should be strictly for drivers and not valet parking companies.

What’s happening in DT Beirut is also happening in Mar Mikhael, Gemmayze, Antelias, Hamra, Badaro (recently) and almost everywhere you go in Lebanon. They charge you the amounts they want, which may vary from one hour to the other just like in Antelias and they are never responsible for what’s inside the car or the car itself. A week ago, my friend was telling me his cousin bought a stolen Rolex by a valet.

I personally stopped giving my car to the valet years ago and I think everyone should do the same. However the problem is that they are taking over the huge parking lots lately and forcing you to pay extra if you want to park there, but I’d rather pay more or walk for a mile or even take a taxi than give my car to a valet.

You can read the full Annahar story [here].

[YouTube]

Should Lebanese Cops Be Punished More Severely If They Break The Law?

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Yasa via Yasa

Every day, there’s a new picture being shared online of a police or a municipality officer breaking the law. These officers are either not wearing helmets on their bikes, or running a red light, or talking on the phone instead of facilitating traffic and other countless violations. Unfortunately, barely any actions are ever taken against these cops which is quite frustrating specially for Lebanese citizens who do respect the law. So how should police officers be punished when they break the law? Should they be more severely fined?

ooo via Yasa

The answer is yes because law enforcement people are entrusted with great power over all of us and should act as role models for others to follow. Police officers should be more afraid of breaking the law and their punishment should be much more severe than ordinary law breakers. Moreover, stiffer fines will force bad cops to either give up their badges or straighten up and will filter out the good cops in the force. That’s how things should ideally work and how we will be able one day to enforce traffic laws in Lebanon.

A week ago, I suggested one way to report bad cops through a platform I called “3layye wou 3leik”. The platform encourages citizens to respect the law and report any violations they see in an attempt to reduce their fines. I’m almost sure such an initiative will never be taken seriously but there’s no harm in sharing the idea and getting some feedback on it.

On a lighter note, few Lebanese came up with a funny list of fines for violations involving police officers or related to ministers. The fines set were outrageous in response to the newly introduced heavy fines in the new traffic law.

Here’s the first list (Don’t know the source):
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And a funnier one by Gino:
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Noss El Balad Akal Zabet El Yom!

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Sakker el Dekkene pranked all the Lebanese on April 1st by putting fines on their cars. The fines includes messages like “El Nef3a mich nef3a”, “Titi Titi 7artou2a ro7ti 3al Mecanique wou Akeed jeete 2at3a” and “Dboto 2abel ma yodebtak” in an attempt to raise awareness on corruption and bribes and incite people to report such things. This campaign is a wake up call to all drivers breaking the law and to the authorities that traffic fines are meant to raise awareness not just collect money.

Sakker el Dekkene initiative was kicked off in May 2014 and they’ve been doing a great job fighting corruption in Lebanon and collecting statistics and reports.

Let’s all report corruption and bribes la Nsakker el Dekkene once and for all! Wou t3eesho wou teklo ghayra!

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Thieves Are Puncturing AUB Students’ Gas Tanks To Steal Fuel

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punc How a punctured fuel tank looks like – Source

Finding a parking spot was always a problem back in my AUB years, but I don’t recall ever hearing about fuel thefts and I am surprised that these things are happening right outside the campus on AUB’s seaside. According to a friend of mine and Outlook AUB’s article, fuel thefts began back in September but became more frequent in the past few weeks. Six cars have already been targeted and two students claimed their car’s fuel tank was punctured twice.

I think this is a very serious problem for two reasons:
Makhfar Ras Beirut (Previously known as Makhfar Hbeich) is located on Bliss Street and there are always police bike patrols on the sea side, so such incidents should not happen very often. Since AUB cannot guarantee parking to its students, the administration should work closely with the authorities to set up cameras along the sea side and provide better security for their students. The Dean of Students Affairs, Talal Nizameddin has already stated the need to cooperate with the police to stop these crimes.

– Punctured gas tanks are a threat to the driver and people around him as they may lead to a fire or even an explosion specially if it’s a huge leak. Some of the students interviewed in Outlook reported driving for some time before realizing their tank was punctured but luckily none of the cars caught fire.

This being said, stricter safety measures have to be implemented the soonest in order to avoid any tragic outcome. Setting up cameras is a necessity but until it’s done, bike and car patrols should be doubled and I recommend that students take a quick look at their fuel tanks before they drive off for their own safety.

I hope they catch these criminals the soonest! Here’s a [link] to the Outlook AUB’s article written by Lama Miri.

A number of AUB students recently reported finding their cars with punctured fuel tanks emptied of gas, as their vehicles were parked on AUB’s seaside. With insurance not covering the expenses of the repairs, students were forced to pay bills of up to $1,050. Meanwhile, the perpetrators are still at large, and authorities have yet to take adequate preventative measures.

Among the targeted vehicles were three different Nissan cars, a Honda, a Renault, and a Peugeot. The fuel thieves clearly singled out larger models, which are easier to handle than smaller ones. All the cars had plastic reservoirs, and in some cases, the gas reservoir was punctured.

“It was explained to me that it was done using an electric drill on a stick, which means that this is pure vandalism,” said business student Anas Aboul Hosn. “Whoever did this didn’t intend to steal the fuel – if they did, they would have come prepared and we wouldn’t have had such a big fuel puddle around the car.”

The First Lebanese Car

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firstlebcar via RaniaelKhatib

I don’t know how accurate this poster is but Lissan Al Hal (in Arabic لسان الحال) was a daily Lebanese newspaper that was established by Khalil Sarkis in the 1870s and is considered as one of the oldest Lebanese publications. This 1960 article is entitled “The First Lebanese Car” and talks about a small vehicle (very similar to a Jeep) that was built using American parts by Younes Motors in Lebanon. It would be interesting to know if this same Younes Motors is linked to the current Rasamny-Younes group and whether they produced or sold any of these cars. I went through Lissan Al Hal’s horrible website but didn’t find anything except recent boring news. According to what I found online, the publication was acquired by the Lebanese National Congress that resumed its publication as a weekly newspaper.

As far as Lebanese cars are concerned, the W Motors Lykan Hypersport is considered as the first Lebanese car ever produced and is currently priced at 3,400,000 US dollars.

After his election and starting 1942, editing of Lisan al Hal was continued by his son Khalil Ramez Sarkis who was also a literary figure and had a series of literary works published. After Khalil Ramez Sarkis, editing and publishing was taken over by Gebran Hayek.[6][7] Bishop George Khodr wrote for the daily in his column called Hadith al Ahad (The Sunday Talk) from 11 March 1962 to 25 January 1970.[8] The newspaper stopped publication during the Lebanese Civil War in the 1970s. [Wiki]

Update: A friend just told me about another Lebanese car made by a guy from Tripoli. The car is called “Spider” and it took 3 years to build and cost $300,000. Mustapha used the body of an Infiniti G35 body and engine and boosted the engine to become a 700HP one. Even though what he did was pretty cool, I didn’t like the car much. Here are some pictures:

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car21 Pictures via ElIktisad

Lebanon’s New Traffic Law: Everything You Need To Know

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I think we all agree that Lebanon needs a new traffic law and I’m glad that the authorities finally managed to draft a new modern traffic law but the question remains whether they will be able to implement it or not? I followed closely Kalamennas‘ episode last week, listened to what Gen. Joseph Msallem (head of public relations division in the Internal Security Forces) and Marcel Ghanem had to say and all I can say is that law enforcement officers need to figure out a way to gain people’s trust while spreading awareness on the new traffic law.

If the aim of the new traffic law is to fine people, then things will only get worse and people will find a way (wasta) not to pay the fines. If not, then the ISF should develop a strategy to 1) spread awareness on the new traffic law without fines 2) serve as role models and 3) gain people’s trust and encourage them not to break the law. Two days ago, I spotted four police officers breaking the law on my way from Jounieh to Achrafieh. One of them wasn’t wearing a seat-belt, the other wasn’t wearing a helmet on his bike, and the 2 others were driving recklessly and cutting off people. If some police officers are incapable of respecting the law and are not being fined or reprimanded, then things will never work out even if this new law is the one of the most modern ones in the world.

On another note, you need a proper infrastructure and decent roads to properly implement the new traffic law, which is not the case. Our roads are terrible and barely lit, traffic lights (if present) are not working everywhere, road works are lousy and hazardous, potholes are everywhere etc. Of course this is not an excuse not to have a new traffic law but the absence of any initiative to fix all these small issues endangering people’s lives makes us wonder if the government is serious about this new law or they’re just doing it to collect more money from the Lebanese.

Speaking of violations and fines, I summed up some of the technical details that were mentioned on LBCI in order to give you an idea about the new law. If you are interested in reading the whole 177-pages long law, you can find it [here].

All in all, we do need severe offences to stop traffic violations but we also need competent and trustworthy law enforcement officers to do the job, and we need the law to be implemented in all regions and on all individuals without any exception.

PS: The fines are so high in this new traffic law that one blogger thought of introducing the Lebanese driving ticket loan.

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In addition to the above violations, driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs or exceeding the speed limit will be also be punishable by law. The fines will be determined based on the severity of the violation.

A Lesson For Every Lebanese Driver Trying To Skip Traffic Illegally

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hahaha via Yasa

Every day, I see drivers specially those with 4×4 vehicles trying to go from one side of the highway to the other to skip traffic, specially on the Dora highway. Aside from the fact that it’s against the law and considered very dangerous driving, I don’t understand why people are so reckless about their cars in Lebanon. Why would you put your life in danger and drive like an idiot? Why would you wreck your car if it’s a rental? What’s the logic behind that?

In all cases, I hope the picture above will be a lesson for all drivers to stop trying these stupid maneuvers.

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How Lucky Is This Guy?

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The person who uploaded this video said he took the film from the store owner and that it happened somewhere in Beirut. I can’t really tell where the crash took place but that was a very close call!

I pulled over to get something from the grocery store and was just heading towards the store when I heard screeching tires. I looked and without thinking I just ran to the store. With respect to the driver, he was a reckless guy driving above speed limit and lost control of the car so he hit the brakes and his car turned and crashed into my car and the ice-cream refrigerators outside the store. Luckily no one was seriously injured.

The store owner was kind enough to let me film his CCTV monitor before he deleted the tape, so i’ll always have this video to remind me just how lucky i was.

[LiveLeak]

Thanks Hadi!