Black spots named in pedestrian safety review

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 06 February, 2007, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 06 February, 2007, 12:00am

The Transport Department has identified dozens of black spots where the risk to pedestrians involving reversing vehicles is high.

Following a series of fatal accidents last year in which pedestrians were killed by trucks reversing in narrow streets or cul de sacs, the government and district councils launched a road safety review.

It pinpointed 77 streets and lanes throughout Hong Kong where accidents have or might occur due to the narrowness of the streets, high pedestrian usage, proximity to playgrounds or sitting out areas, or a lack of visibility.

A Transport Department spokesman said: 'The exercise is to consult district councils to help enhance road safety, especially vehicle reversing.

'We are consulting the district councils to try to find the problems and solve them.'

But at Central and Western District, which has 15 of the 77 black spots and, as one of the oldest inhabited areas of Hong Kong, has many narrow laneways and dead-ends, councillors questioned how comprehensive the Transport Department's list of sites was.

Victor Yeung, chairman of the council's traffic and transport committee, said several councillors had raised concerns over the list.

'Members challenged how the Transport Department came up with its list and if it was comprehensive enough,' Mr Yeung said.

There are an average of 187 accidents a year involving reversing vehicles, and five people, including a father carrying his 11-month-old daughter, were killed when trucks backed over them during one two-month period last year.

Sheung Wan's narrow Ki Ling Lane - where an 83-year-old woman was killed after being knocked down by a truck last year - has been blocked off to traffic, allowing access to emergency vehicles only.

The road safety review included a range of other proposals, such as prohibiting trucks of more than seven metres in length from entering certain streets, creating new street signs warning of reversing vehicles, and widening pavements.

But Central and Western District councillor Lai Kwok-hung said the measures were too vague.