• Mon
  • Sep 22, 2014
  • Updated: 8:13pm
SportHong Kong

British cyclist dies after colliding with van in Tung Chung

As top amateur is killed in Tung Chung, cyclists say it's time for a new approach to road safety

PUBLISHED : Friday, 06 June, 2014, 3:24pm
UPDATED : Monday, 09 June, 2014, 10:43am

The dangers of cycling on Hong Kong’s roads have again been tragically highlighted with the death of a British man near Tung Chung.

Colin Robertson, a leading amateur cyclist, was riding past the DHL Central Asia Hub along the South Perimeter Road when his bike collided with a Hong Kong-registered cargo van bearing a mainland plate at 8pm last night.

Robertson, 39, was seriously injured, was trapped under the van and had to be pulled out by firemen.

By the time the ambulance arrived, he had fallen into a coma. He was later pronounced dead at St Margaret Hospital.

The 55-year-old cargo van driver was arrested on suspicion of dangerous driving causing death.

Friends and cyclists took to social media today to lament the death of Robertson, a chief financial officer for CLSA, and highlight the dangers of cycling in Hong Kong in general, and Tung Chung in particular.

“Those trucks are ridiculous out there – they’re zipping back and forth delivering materials for the bridge to Macau,” said James Stewart, a 30-year-old engineer. “One nearly took me out a few weeks ago: And I was stopped and on the side of the road – on the grass. It’s like they’re trying to hit us.”

Another cyclist, Chris Lai, accused drivers of ignoring safety, saying: “I almost got hit from the back by a truck driver, even though I was as close to the curb as possible. Van and truck drivers can sometimes be really aggressive.”

Friend Nick Langford said: “This is a terrible and tragic loss. Many of us in Hong Kong had the pleasure of riding with Colin and witnessed his passion for the sport at first hand, thriving off his training tips and encouragement, struggling – and failing – to hold his wheel, sharing a coffee shop moment. He will be remembered fondly by the cycling community and his loss sorely felt.”

Another friend, Bo Kratz said: “I am deeply saddened by Colin’s tragic accident. I have known him for better part of a decade and ridden with him in both Singapore and Hong Kong. He was not only a great sportsman and an inspiration to cyclists in Asia and beyond, but more importantly, a great guy with a big heart, one who will be sadly missed.”

Robertson rode for Team DirectAsia.com and chief executive Nicolas Faquet said he was a role model.

“Colin was an outstanding character both on and off the bike. Talented, dedicated and experienced he was respected and feared on the Asian cycling circuit.

“Approachable, easy going, eager to share his experience and teach new riders without ever being condescending, he was a role model and a natural leader for the team. This is a terribly sad day for everyone who had the chance to know him.

“Our thoughts are with his wife and son," he said.

Ironically, Robertson moved to Tung Chung with his wife, Krystina, and son Bean, 3, because the area was flat and better for cycling.

In an interview with the South China Morning Post in 2012 he said: “Hong Kong is very mountainous; there is nothing flat and traffic is not good on the island. We just moved to Tung Chung, partly because the cycling is better. However, you’ve just got to make the best of what you’ve got. There are great places to cycle in Hong Kong; you just have to make the effort.”

Robertson said he loved cycling for its social aspects and required teamwork.

“I’m just one of these really insane people who love suffering, and cycling is the ultimate sport for suffering. I’ve done marathons, I’ve done rowing, but cycling beats them all.”

And asked if he had the choice of anyone in the world to take on a ride, he said: “I want to ride with Bean, my two-year-old son. Ever since he was born, I’ve been looking forward to riding with him. We’ve started going out – me on my bike, him on his balance bike.

“He looks so proud to be out with his dad; there’s a huge grin permanently on his face. It won’t be too long, and he’ll be on a proper bike. Then I am the one who will be proud to ride with him.”



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This article is now closed to comments

"highlight the dangers of cycling in Hong Kong in general" I would say that people driving attitude is the dangerous one.
Introduce a COE (Certificate of Entitlement) like Singapore. You have to buy this before you can buy a car and it can cost a lot lot more than the car.
The roads are a disgrace, but you know what else is? The idiots on the cycle paths. I used to cycle around Tseung Kwan O a lot but you have all these people jogging, walking, having picnics (I kid you not!), walking their dogs, and any manner of activity you can think of, that it just becomes frustrating. What is wrong with the locals? Also, what are wrong with the police? I ride on the sidewalk, I get a ticket. A pedestrian walks on the cycle path, nothing happens! How's that fair???
Few weeks ago in Shatin, I saw two white guys, who probably just come to HK and not familiar with HK's road regulations, cycling across the road when the traffic light already turned green and vehicles started moving. So dangerous that my heart stopped for a while. Hope HK government can put some effort to deliver the message of cycling safety. Newcomers to Hong Kong may not know the danger of cycling in busy streets of HK, in addition, some truck drivers here are not in very good temper.
It's tragic whenever there's a life lost and especially when it comes to a situation where a person was just enjoying doing something he has passion for, such as cycling.....................However, I've already accepted the fact that most HK drivers and especially the commercial ones such as trucks, vans and taxi drivers, have no respect whatsoever to share the road for cyclists or even have courtesy to "other drivers"...........They operate their vehicles as if no others exist around them and as if they own the road to themselves.............I particularly hate the truck and taxi drivers in HK.
How the hell they get their licenses I do not know. Those tattooed idiots in the delivery trucks are so dangerous the way they drive. Taxi drivers think they are all driving Ferraris because they are red. Oh, and who can forget the scum that drive those f****ng Toyota Alphards up and down the Tuen Mun highway at breakneck speed, getting right up the a**e of the car in front to make them get out of the way. Then there's the boy racers in the white Honda Civics racing around the New Territories at 2am. Actually, some of the driving here is the worst I've every seen (and I've lived in the Gulf!!). Unfortunately, 'Asia's Finest' don't seem to care or are too inept to do anything about it.
I'm heartbroken and angry. Ensuring that our roads are not just for cars but for people and bikes as well is a social justice issue. In this regard Hong Kong is lagging behind the rest of the world, even behind our neighbours to the north. Time for an attitude change Hong Kong, or take down those banners proclaiming we are Asia's world city.
We have few cycling provisions for the same reasons we have few zebra crossings. Drivers don't know how to 'collaborate' with cyclists for the same reasons they don't know the rules of zebra crossings. Because our Transport Department does not provide them. Hiding behind the transport planning and design manual they will not provide even the minimum, just in case there is an accident and they are blamed for an inadequate provision. So cyclists (and pedestrians) are told to look left and to look right and the rest is up to you. We need a massive change in attitude if we want the city to be both enjoyable and safe. RIP, we'll get angry.
(drivers)...don't know the rules of zebra crossings
I disagree
They do know the zebra crossing rules, but deliberately choose to arrogantly disregard pedestrian's rights.
In this respect - its not different than entering the intersection just after the light has turned red.
I agree! Drivers here have absolutely no road manners and often seem clueless about what is right or wrong (e.g. honking cause the guy in front honked too, standing still on a pedestrian crossing, ...) When I bring visiting friends or family around I feel embarrassed about the lack of road etiquette. It's time to change that, and again change must start with whoever is in charge of setting up rules.




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