PUBLISHED : Monday, 05 January, 2004, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 05 January, 2004, 12:00am

Traffic danger

K.M. Law, for the commissioner for transport, refers to metal grilles or bull bars attached to the fronts of vehicles ('Vehicle checks', December 25).

A year or two ago the Transport Department proposed banning bull bars, saying: 'It is believed some pedestrians who were killed or maimed in low-speed accidents involving vehicles fitted with steel bars could otherwise have escaped serious injury. The bull bars are particularly dangerous in accidents involving children', and the 'danger is rising with the increase in use of [these] aggressive bars which have become the trend'.

However, the department has since backed down after receiving complaints from owners of so-called 'sports utility vehicles' (SUVs) and a group calling itself the 'bull-bar trade'. This is a good example of the government being easily swayed by vested interests to the detriment of public, and especially children's, safety.

The proliferation of SUVs (which are marketed as rugged sporty 'off-road' cars, but rarely leave the tarmac) has in other countries led to concerns for the safety of vulnerable road-users.

There is now mounting evidence that it is unwise to permit such vehicles on our roads. For example, a pedestrian struck by a large sports utility vehicle is more than twice as likely to be killed as a pedestrian hit by a passenger car travelling at the same speed.

Why does the department disregard such evidence, and how does it justify its licensing of these aggressive, dangerous vehicles for our roads?


International spirit

I was intrigued and touched by Edith Terry's Postscript column on 'Chinese assets' (December 20).

How perceptive she was to note that civilisations in Hong Kong did not clash, they intermingled. And that Hong Kong's spiritual resources were as Chinese as they were universal. Self-cultivation (xiuyang) and the concept of benevolence (ren) are indeed core to such Chinese spiritual resources.

She could have included the old Chinese saying that 'Within the four seas, all men are brothers'. This concept is imbedded in the Hong Kong international spirit which needs to be fostered through mutual respect and tolerance, and through bilingualism in the Chinese and English languages, thus enhancing Hong Kong's role as China's bridge to the global community.



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