I refer to the letter by Duncan Lightfoot ("Cyclists ruin visitor's hike in country park", October 11).
According to the Country Parks and Special Areas Regulations (Cap 208A), cycling activities within country parks are restricted to designated mountain bike trails. Ten designated mountain bike trails with a total length of 110 kilometres are available in different country parks. Anyone with a valid mountain biking permit issued by the Country and Marine Parks Authority can ride on them.
We are aware of the unauthorised mountain biking in Tai Lam Country Park, and have stepped up patrol efforts including the area around Kap Lung ancient trail and forest trail. Up to last month, we had apprehended around 160 cyclists in Tai Lam Country Park who rode outside the designated mountain bike trails. We will continue to do our best to stop these unauthorised activities.
We also disseminated information to the public to promote mountain biking safety through websites, leaflets, posters and banners. Maps of designated mountain bike trails have been posted on information boards at trail-heads, and signs erected along the trails to direct cyclists to keep on the designated mountain bike trails. From time to time, we organise meetings with mountain biking and hiking groups, to promote trail safety and share views.
We have been actively searching for suitable new trails for mountain bikers (for example, Tin Fu Tsai North Section mountain bike trail in Tai Lam Country Park was opened in March). To avoid affecting hikers and causing potential danger, these new trails are separated from hiking trails. We believe that they will provide alternative routes for mountain bikers and help reduce the incidence of unauthorised mountain biking activities.
Joseph Sham, assistant director of agriculture, fisheries and conservation