• Wed
  • Dec 24, 2014
  • Updated: 10:06am
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

Colin's death was completely avoidable. The government's refusal to accept cycling on the roads or to successfully manage the appalling behavior of the other road users who are killing and injuring fellow people is a disgrace. When the government takes cycling seriously then perhaps motorists will do so too but until then I wonder how many other innocent families must live a life without their loved one? Colin I sincerely hope that through your loss others may soon be safer. To his family I can only say how sorry I am that Hong Kong has let you down.
A truly dark and tragic day for Hong Kong cycling. Colin was an incredibly talented cyclist and a loving father who will be missed by all. Anyone who ever raced with (or against) him will know how big his heart was physically, whilst those who knew and loved him will know how big his heart was emotionally in giving warmth to those around. Cycling will never be as safe as badminton, but it is a fantastic sport that shouldn't be mercy to the wrath of ignorant untrained men driving HGVs in a hurry without a thought. We must act as a cycling community to keep pressing this apathetic government to do more to make our roads safer. It should never come to this. Deepest condolences to all of Colin's family. RIP. Ed Cluer, Colossi.cc Cycling Club.
I was absolutely appalled to read this news having heard this morning via the SIR cycling network. I didn't know Colin but as a keen road cyclist based in HK myself I have become increasingly concerned at the risk we face every time we ride on a road. When are drivers here going to realise that the road is not just for them and that we all have a right to use the highways - and a duty of care? Being from the UK I am struck at how much more care and attention is given, in general, to cyclists by drivers, and that cycling has really taken off, whereas in HK it seems that we are considered a menace and intimidation is the norm by drivers who can't wait to get to where they want to go. My sincere condolences go to Colin's loved ones and I hope that attitudes to cyclists will change. Alas, I feel that I am in the minority on that however.
Couldn't agree more. I'm sad and angry.
Anyone who rides a bike on Hong Kong roads knows that drivers haven't got a clue. Some are aggressive, many are negligent and the majority don't know how to drive around cyclists.
Education, education and education.
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.
Why is this article under SPORT ???
Didn't notice earlier - this is a public issue, not a page 15 sport item.
I used to cycle regularly in the Sunny Bay - Tung Chung area, as well on other roads on Lantau and in the Tsuen Wan - Tuen Mun - Yuen Long corridor. The scenery is breathtaking and the roads are generally excellent for cycling.

But I gave up on it after two near-death experiences, one of which involved a rock fallen off a lorry and severe bruises that took over 6 months to heal. I guess I was lucky. The crazy vans, lorries and taxis are just making any road cycling in Hong Kong a gamble with one's life. I am an experienced cyclist, always wear a helmet, ride defensively and so on, but Hong Kong (freight) drivers fall into an incalculable risk category of their own.

I now only ride in the Shatin - Tai Po - Ma On Shan bicycle path corridor and would advise any other cyclist to do the same. It is a crying shame, and it shouldn't be that way, but this sad case shows again that the risks are enormous.
Heartbreaking - each dad going out on his bike will shiver at the thought leaving his kids and other loved ones behind due to an accident. I can only try to imagine the hurt his family must go through.
Hopefully Hong Kong will take this and put in all efforts to let motorized traffic and bikes share the roads safely and where possible separately. In a few places government has shown they are absolutely capable to create and facilitate this (e.g. Tolo Harbour).
In places where roads will have to be shared due to space restriction (basically anything Island, especially South Side between Shouson Hill and Shek O), it's up to proper education and road signage. I must add that in my experience the majority of HK drivers are very respectable on the road, sadly it only takes a few impatient nutcases to cause immense damage.
However, this tragic accident will only add to my fear that HK will be inclined to do the opposite: banning bikes from roads versus realizing there is great potential in making Hong Kong a better place to live (more km's on bikes versus motorized = cleaner air/less noise/healthier people/greater image/etc). Why not open the roads around the reservoirs? Why close a 200m stretch at the start of Bride's Pool Rd?
Safer traffic conditions and better control in otherwise bike friendly places will not only protect bikes, this will also prevent the reckless to crash their vehicle in any other object and leave their loved ones behind in agony.
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 was expecting to see this in our 7:30pm news tonight as I see this as a very important issue especially to every cyclist like myself... I was surprised it was not televised... Same thing as the other person who mentioned why this is in Sports page 15?? This has to be in the major pages of the news! This only shows how HK is cold and does not really care much about cycling in general.. I hope that there will be some government officials will be more focus on how to educate and make HK road more safe...



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