Park bicycle ban poses threat to motorists

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 10 October, 1996, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 10 October, 1996, 12:00am

I am writing to add my voice to those other letter writers regarding the ban on bicycles in our country parks. I would especially like to add the viewpoint of the drivers of motor vehicles in Hong Kong to this issue.


Forcing all cycling in Hong Kong on to the public roads causes inconvenience and danger to the motoring public.


While driving, I hate trying to overtake bicyclists. Let's hear from the Automobile Association, the bus and truck-drivers' associations and the police on this issue.


First of all, we should be clear: regulation four of the Country Park and Special Areas Regulations prohibits even the mere possession of a bicycle in a country park. This means that it is illegal even to walk with a bicycle on a country park trail.


On Sunday, October 6, a group of exhausted cyclists and I approached the Tai Tam Road entrance to Tai Tam Reservoir Road, which cuts across Tai Tam Country Park. There was the usual crowd of walkers and picnickers and fishermen there and also a park warden. At that point all we wanted to do was walk our bikes west up Tai Tam Reservoir Road to Hong Kong Parkview.


This would have avoided many miles of riding around Tai Tam Country Park on Tai Tam Road and Repulse Bay Road, which are narrow and heavily travelled by cars, buses and trucks. The park warden prohibited us from even entering the country park with our bicycles, citing regulation four, but the warden didn't do anything about the fishermen.


As a consequence, we had to ride our bicycles on Tai Tam Road and Repulse Bay Road. This was not only risky and unhealthy for me, for which I accept sole responsibility. Also, many cars, buses and trucks were delayed and inconvenienced. Those that swerved out into the opposing lane to get around me (God bless every one of them) did so at considerable risk to themselves.


The country parks are for everyone's use.


This includes not only the walkers, but also the motorists who would have to deal with fewer cyclists if cyclists were also allowed to use the country parks.


At the very least, the country park regulations should be amended to allow persons to walk their bicycles on country park trails.


Preferably, bicyclists should be allowed to ride on country park trails if they: Abide by a code of behaviour (for example, passing elderly walkers slowly, with caution and respect); and, Spend a certain amount of time each year maintaining the country park trails.


For example, the Hong Kong Trail along the catchment from the northern tip of Tai Tam Harbour south to To Tei Wan Village is so overgrown in places that it is dangerous even for walkers. I would be happy to donate 10 to 20 hours of my weekend time per year with a weed-whacker and some boots and goggles to keep this and other trails rideable. This would impose a clear and sensible limit on the number of cyclists using the country parks.


GILLIS HELLER The Peak

 

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