Annual ride to push helmet law

PUBLISHED : Friday, 19 August, 2011, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 19 August, 2011, 12:00am


This year's HSBC Pok Oi Cycle for Millions will be held on the roads - a first for the city - after previously taking place on bike trails in Tai Po and Sha Tin.

The event, which will aim to bring more attention to safety, requires all participants to wear helmets. And it comes amid calls from a leading figure in the cycling community for a helmet law.

About 5,000 riders hope to raise HK$6 million for Pok Oi Hospital's elderly dental services. They will follow a 10-kilometre circular route between Lau Fau Shan Fire Station and a return point on Hung Chi Road in Tin Shui Wai. The 31/2 -hour event takes place on October 9.

'The route is near Hong Kong Wetland Park, so the participants can not only raise funds for charity, but also enjoy the beautiful scenery along the way,' said Henry Tong Sau-chai, chairman of Pok Oi Hospital's board of directors.

Tong hoped the event's helmet requirement would better educate the public about safe cycling.

Hung Chun Yam, deputy general secretary of Hong Kong Cycling Association, said: 'We suggest the government mandate the wearing of helmets for cyclists who ride on roads, on which accidents are usually quite serious.'

In response, Undersecretary for Transport and Housing Yau Shing-mu said: 'Whether the government will mandate the wearing of helmets depends on the public's acceptance. So far, the views are quite diverse.

'Also, some studies in overseas countries show that helmet laws discourage cycling activities and cause no obvious reduction in the number of head injuries in cycling accidents.'

According to Transport Department statistics, there were 1,010 bike-related traffic accidents, and eight deaths, in the first half of this year.