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Traffic and road safety in Hong Kong

Safety measures enhanced along Tai Po Road after horror Hong Kong bus crash

District council members are pushing for affected bus stop to be moved slightly away from accident site because of ‘psychological impact’ on regular commuters

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 12 April, 2018, 8:31am
UPDATED : Thursday, 12 April, 2018, 8:31am

Safety measures such as a lower speed limit, enhanced barriers and traffic cameras on Tai Po Road will come into force later this month following Hong Kong’s deadliest bus crash in nearly 15 years, which occurred in February along the stretch.

The details were unveiled in a Transport Department paper submitted to the Tai Po District Council on Monday. According to the document, authorities had reviewed traffic management, and the speed limit for a 6.7km section between Tsun King Road in Sha Tin and Yung Yi Road in Tai Po, in the wake of the fatal accident.

The speed limit for a section between Chek Nai Ping and Yung Yi Road would also be lowered from 70km/h to 50km/h from April 27, taking into consideration various factors, such as a rising number of accidents in the area.

“In recent months, we have detected that the average speed of vehicles within this section of the road is generally lower than 70km/h. There are many major developments coming to Pak Shek Kok, which would lead to more vehicles travelling along this stretch,” the paper stated.

“Therefore, there is room to lower the speed limit to enhance road safety.”

Just days before Lunar New Year, a KMB double-decker was travelling from the Sha Tin racecourse to Tai Po. It suddenly swerved out of control and flipped on its side while making a turn near Tai Po Mei, killing 19 people and injuring more than 67 others.

Other measures listed in the paper included installing fixed-position speed cameras by the end of the year, and putting up warning signs near Tai Po Mei to remind drivers of the sharp bend and the need to slow down.

“Authorities will enlarge the lay-by at the affected bus stop near Tai Po Mei and add barriers,” the paper stated. This refers to an area by the side of the road where vehicles can pull over without disrupting traffic.

Some residents told me they feel uncomfortable using the bus stop because of the crash
Kwan Wing-yip, Tai Po district councillor

Tai Po district councillor Kwan Wing-yip said the department had mostly taken up suggestions by the council, but said it should also consider moving the bus stop a slight distance because the accident had left a deep psychological impact on nearby residents.

“Some residents told me they feel uncomfortable using the bus stop because of the crash,” Kwan said.

Tai Po District Council members will conduct a site visit on Thursday afternoon to follow up on the issue.

An independent review committee led by a High Court judge began its work two weeks ago to look into bus safety and management issues. It was formed in light of concerns over the Tai Po crash.

Senior judge Michael Lunn to head safety inquiry after deadly Hong Kong bus crash

Committee chairman Mr Justice Michael Lunn, who is also the vice-president of the Court of Appeal, said his group would examine the operation and handling of franchised buses from a safety standpoint in the coming nine months.

The committee would also look into regulatory and monitoring systems and make recommendations on safety measures to Chief Executive Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor.