Why plan to have Hong Kong cyclists riding on flyovers warrants a rethink
I am writing in response to “Kwun Tong leads way in lifting ban on bikes”(September 26).
The Transport Department decided to allow cyclists to ride on 16 bridges and underpasses across the city in 2017. And now Choi Ha Road flyover in Kwun Tong is set to be the first flyover open to cyclists. However, I believe lifting the biking ban may compromise the safety of not just cyclists, but drivers as well.
Last year, there were 1,917 accidents involving bicycles, with 1,976 people injured and 10 deaths. Although the move to lift the biking ban is intended at improving the accessibility of bicycles and making cycling more convenient, the risk of injury to cyclists remains.
Moreover, conflicts between cyclists and vehicle drivers may increase, as they jostle for road space on the busy flyovers. Any collision or road rage incident may see arguments escalate into demands for compensation. This would also affect the police and other road users. While the police resolve these conflicts, the vehicles involved may block the road, causing traffic jams.
Is it really necessary to lift the biking ban on flyovers and underpasses? Should cyclists wear high visibility vests to protect themselves? Hopefully, the Transport Department will listen to the suggestions of the public and improve this policy.
Ada Yeung, Po lam
Cyclists in Hong Kong should stick to their tracks
Is bicycle riding a recreational sport or is it a major transport option for Hongkongers? Needless to say, cycling is environment-friendly transport and a healthy option for one’s daily commute. Cycling is already a “serious” mode of transport in some countries, such as the Netherlands and Denmark. However, is crowded Hong Kong with its packed highways a suitable destination to promote “cycling as transport”?
Without stringent safety measures, having people ride bicycles right next to cars can be very dangerous. According to your report, there are 340 bicycle prohibition zones in Hong Kong. A consultant reviewed 105 of them and recommended removing the ban in only 16 cases. This is evidence that cycling is not suited to becoming a major mode of transport in Hong Kong.
Some enthusiasts might argue that “cycling culture” is beneficial for public health and therefore should be promoted in Hong Kong. But different schemes and programmes are promoted to suit different situations and places. In Hong Kong, the government has already put resources into different green projects and building cycle tracks, such as the New Territories cycle track network. These dedicated tracks are very convenient, as cyclists can travel to different locations safely instead of riding right between the flow of cars.
While promoting cycling in traffic has its pros and cons, we should regard safety as the top priority. There must be a reason for the government to have prohibited cycling in so many zones.
Heidi Cheng, Tseung Kwan O