Officers swoop, but the bicycles remain near Cheung Chau pier

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 12 September, 2009, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 12 September, 2009, 12:00am

More than a hundred bicycles remained illegally parked near Cheung Chau ferry pier yesterday after a clearance by government officers.

The action was taken after various departments received reports that the bikes had blocked ambulances and fire engines on their way to emergencies. But only 18 were removed in the joint exercise by the Home Affairs Department, Lands Department, Food and Environmental Hygiene Department and the police.

According to regulations, owners must be given a day's notice before the removal of their bikes, a Home Affairs Department spokeswoman said. Lands Department officers had stuck warning notices on bicycles in the public pier area between Shing Cheong Lane and Man Shun Lane on Wednesday and most owners had removed their bicycles in time.

Others continued to park illegally but their bikes could not be dealt with because they had not been issued the warning notice. The spokeswoman said owners could not claim back their confiscated bikes.

Cycling is a way of life on the island and most families own one or more bikes. Residents said illegal parking would not be solved unless more public parking spaces were provided. About 300 bikes were removed in an earlier governmental action, but it had not solved the problem.

An official parking area should be drawn up next to the pier, said Marisa Yip, who has lived on the island for 14 years.

'When there is no official space, people park their bicycles disorderly,' Yip said, suggesting that a line be drawn in the pedestrian area and cyclists not be allowed to park beyond that.

Islands District councillor Lee Kwai-chun said she had proposed a similar idea but had not received a positive response from the Transport Department. She had suggested a line be drawn on the road to indicate where cyclists should park.

Lee was told there was no precedent for the suggestion and no legal basis for prosecuting people who parked beyond the line.

Elderly residents said the increasing number of bikes was a danger. An 88-year-old man said he had been hit by cyclists three times.

And a 75-year-old said: 'Bicycles move fast but old people don't have keen eyes.'