We have received messages regarding the new rule 11) restrictions on night rides on piste sections. Some people have expressed concerns about this new rule, and we understand that it can be difficult to comprehend if you have never ridden on these pistes (dirt roads) in the Sahara desert at night.
The new rule only applies to sections that are not paved, called piste (or dirt roads in America). On paved roads, you can ride your bike 24 hours a day as long as there are no local restrictions in place. This could also include riding your bike at night in a national park, but you must always follow the instructions of the police.
We have been recommending since 2022 that you should not ride your bike at night on piste sections. This is because many riders have crashed on these pistes in the past, especially in the evening after sunset.
There are several problems with riding on these pistes at night, such as difficulty in recognizing soft sand or larger stones in the dark. Additionally, in the desert around dunes, it’s not even safe to drive a car at night. During the day, hardly any people are visible on these pistes, and at night, it’s almost impossible to see anyone. If an accident were to occur, it would be difficult to locate the person. Furthermore, if the rider is only a few meters off the GPX track, it would be almost impossible to find them in areas without internet connectivity. Moreover, it’s challenging to find the piste in many places, and the best track could be 10 meters beside the GPX track as the pistes often change due to sand blowing in by the wind and other factors.
The following map shows the area affected by this new rule.
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