Hong Kong bus crash tragedy: is city failing to focus on Road Users’ Code?
Did the horrific bus accident in North Point on Monday occur due to insufficient education and road engineering (“Call for parking restrictions after bus rolls down slope and kills four”, December 12)? First, regarding insufficient education, we may have failed to educate all drivers on the Road Users’ Code, in this case the section on parking downhill in Chapter 5 for all drivers which states: “Turn the steering wheel to the left, so that any forward movement of the vehicle will be checked by the kerb. Leave the vehicle in reverse gear and apply the handbrake firmly.”
If these three requirements had been followed correctly, perhaps this accident would have been avoided. The very simple act of turning the wheels to the left would reduce the chance of such an accident in the event of a mechanical failure or a failure to set the handbrake firmly.
Second, there are many road engineering measures that could be implemented to prevent such runaway accidents. An excellent measure would be to widen the pavement along both sides to restrict the road width to 3.5 metres, install a higher kerb and steel bollards to cure the epidemic of illegal parking and, finally, add a chicane near the end of the road with reinforced steel bollards strong enough to stop runaway vehicles.
This is not the first time that such an accident has occurred and, unless there is enhanced education on the Road Users’ Code and improved road engineering measures, it will not be the last. The Transport Department must do more.
N.R. Dunn, Kowloon
School buses in accidents: where is the focus on transport safety?
When I heard about the deadly bus accident on December 10, I was not surprised. Over the past few years, bus-related traffic incidents have become the norm in Hong Kong. On December 12, I opened up my newspaper to be greeted with another bus accident headline (“Seven children among nine injured in school bus accident – second in 24 hours”). Initially, I thought that it was an update on the same news, until I looked closer and saw a different date.
Buses and minibuses are such a large part of the transport system in Hong Kong, and it’s especially disheartening to see that these traffic incidents are now even affecting the “nanny buses” that are used by schoolchildren.
I think it’s a disgrace that little or nothing has been done so far about transport safety.
Last month, it was reported that the driver of a coach that rammed into a taxi in Tsing Yi was exhausted from working a long shift. It’s no secret that Hong Kong, as do other places in Asia, pushes its workforce hard, which usually means long hours and a high workload. A change in that mindset, especially for jobs that can have such a large effect on human lives, is long overdue.
There needs to be a call to action for the government and also companies and business owners to pass regulations and institute policies limiting shift hours and protecting the rights of workers to take sick leave and recover from fatigue, as well as consider the consequences of inadequate safety equipment on their vehicles (KMB announced that it will install seat belts). They should do so not only for the health of individual workers and the company’s reputation, but for the sake of all of us here in Hong Kong.
Yip Wing-yan, Tsuen Wan