March drives home messageto slow down in Sai Kung
Locals fed up with speeding motorists knocking them off their bikes and slamming into cattle demand action to make the roads safer for all
Feral cows hit by cars, cyclists knocked from their bikes and joggers clipped by speeding motorists: Sai Kung residents say they've had enough.
About 30 of them marched through the country park yesterday, calling for more rumble strips and cameras along the roads to discourage drivers from speeding. They say the police and two departments have done little in response to their concerns.
"It's like around Hiram's Highway - everyone always said the cars were going around that roundabout too fast, but they never did anything until 19 people were killed," said Carol Biddell, co-organiser of the No Speeding protest.
Hiram's Highway is a busy, two-lane road popular with locals making weekend getaways to Sai Kung. In 2008, 19 members of a Japanese religious group were killed when their tour bus toppled over onto a noise barrier at the Nam Pin Wai roundabout.
"We want to make sure that doesn't happen along here," said Biddell, as about 30 residents walked along Tai Mong Tsai Road, from the entrance to Pak Tam Chung, to Sai Kung Town, in protest. Cars honked and slowed down in support as they marched along the winding roads holding placards reading "Reduce speed now", "We 'heart' cows", "Slow down", and "Share the Roads".
Biddell said residents had contacted police in the past two months, and as far back as three years ago, about speeding in the country park and illegal racing along the roads at night. She said little had been done.
"Everyone just pushes it to everyone else," said Biddell, referring to the problem being passed between the police, the Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department and the Transport Department.
Police said they could not confirm what had been said to residents who complained, as the duty officers who took their calls were not available yesterday.
Last year, 163 road accidents were reported in Sai Kung - three of them fatal and 32 serious. Police said no figures were available for the sections of road raising concern - including Tai Mong Tsai and Pak Tam roads. Some of those injured were cyclists who had been knocked off their bicycles. "People move out here for the green living and healthy living," said Karina, a 17-year resident of Sai Kung who would only give her first name. "Bicycles are part of that lifestyle and drivers should be aware of them and share the road," she said, adding drivers were also often unaware of the wildlife around. Feral cows are frequently clipped and injured by speeding cars. On Lantau Island last month, eight feral cows were killed in a hit and run.
Last year, a man was killed and 12 people injured when two cars were involved in a head-on collision on Tai Mong Tsai Road.