Hong Kong's urban planners continue to ignore walkers and cyclists

PUBLISHED : Monday, 26 October, 2015, 12:01am
UPDATED : Monday, 26 October, 2015, 12:01am

I would like to congratulate the Hong Kong Tourism Board for its decision to stage the recent Cyclothon.

Although I understand that there were some issues regarding organisation of the event ("Confusion reigns in city's first Cyclothon", October 12), the fact that it took place at all is a significant step forward in raising the profile of cycling in the city.

Despite the fact that only a small proportion of the Hong Kong population owns a vehicle, the city's road infrastructure remains heavily biased towards car use.

Walking and cycling are often made very difficult as urban planners continue to ignore walkers and cyclists.

However, cycling is becoming ever more popular; anyone who doubts this should take a trip to the cycle lane along Tolo Harbour on a Sunday morning, where thousands of people regularly ride. It is a shame that cycling on many roads in Hong Kong remains extremely dangerous, dissuading most people from venturing away from the cycle paths.

I understand that the Tourism Board has promised that the Cyclothon will return next year, and hopefully it will have ironed out some of the problems regarding traffic flow and timing.

My concern is that cycling continues to be seen as something odd or special, only taking place in restricted locations on rare occasions.

Many forward-thinking city councils around the world have woken up to the valuable role that cycling can play in terms of reducing traffic congestion and pollution, together with improving the health of the population.

It is about time those responsible for urban planning in Hong Kong updated their ideas.

Stephen Potts, Sheung Shui