We should do more to promote cycling

PUBLISHED : Monday, 21 November, 2011, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 21 November, 2011, 12:00am


Cycling has many benefits. It is the best way to combat traffic congestion and air pollution. It is good exercise and helps people avoid obesity. However, many things prevent cycling being more popular in Hong Kong.

First, we lack bike parking spaces, especially in urban areas. If cyclists park their bikes on the roadside instead, they are impounded and sold at auction for scrap. This is unfair.

Second, not all districts have cycle paths. As the roads are busy and narrow, it can be dangerous to ride bikes on them.

Third, cyclists are not allowed to board public transport with their bikes. Finally, air pollution makes bikers feel ill.

It is not impossible for big cities to encourage cycling. Mexico City, London and countless other places are good examples for us to follow. We need more cycle paths and parking spaces for bikes.

Pang Pei-yan, Pooi To Middle School

From the Editor

Thank you for your letter, Pei-yan. You raise some excellent points. Cycling is an extremely healthy activity, and a great way to get around a city. But, as you point out, it's not easy to do in Hong Kong.

There are people in Hong Kong who use bicycles as their main mode of transport. But they have to wear face masks to prevent breathing in toxic fumes while they're waiting in traffic. They also have to be especially aware of drivers who aren't used to seeing bikes on the road.

Many people go cycling at weekends in the New Territories. But they treat it as a bit of a novelty, a fun activity to do once in a while, like karaoke or bowling.

Perhaps the solution is to start a petition and send it to the government, asking for better cycling facilities. Also, get on your bike more often. If more of us used pedal power, the people who make the decisions might realise what a great way cycling is to get around, and do something about it.

Karly, Deputy Editor