Accidents and personal safety in Hong Kong

Call for parking restrictions on Hong Kong street after bus rolls down slope and kills four

  • Long-time district councillor plans to table motion urging the Transport Department to make the change after horrific accident
PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 12 December, 2018, 9:01am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 12 December, 2018, 12:40pm

Local councillors were on Tuesday planning to urge Hong Kong transport officials to restrict parking on a sloped street which became the scene of a horrific accident that killed four pedestrians a day earlier.

An empty school bus which had been parked on Cheung Hong Street on Monday afternoon rolled 100 metres downhill into King’s Road, after the 62-year-old driver was suspected to have failed to apply the handbrake properly.

It hit pedestrians and vehicles, and ended up trapping three people as it came to a stop on Hei Wo Street. An 80-year-old woman was confirmed dead at the scene, while three others died in hospital. Eleven people were injured.

Long-time Eastern district councillor Frankie Lo Wing-kwan, whose constituency covers parts of Cheung Hong Street, said he would table a motion next month urging the Transport Department to further restrict parking on the street.

“There is a consensus among a few district councillors that parking restrictions should be added to that spot,” Lo said.

He said the bus was parked outside the former site of North Point Methodist Primary School.

He said that, though other parts of the street had parking restrictions marked by yellow lines, the spot where the bus parked had none because it was by the school’s former entrance. Law said he would table the non-binding motion at the next meeting of Eastern District Council’s transport committee on January 8.

“Ultimately it’s up to the Transport Department to accept our advice or not,” Law said.

According to the department, the crash on Monday was the first fatal accident on Cheung Hong Street in the past two years.

Chief Executive Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor on Tuesday expressed her condolences to the families of those killed.

By the end of November there had been 99 fatal accidents on Hong Kong’s roads this year, an increase on the 90 in the same period of 2017, Lam said, citing statistics from the Transport Department.

That was despite the number of accidents remaining roughly the same, at about 14,000.

Some 118 people have died in 2018, compared with 94 last year – a rise of 25 per cent.

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“Even one serious road accident is too many,” Lam said, urging all drivers to think about their “crucial responsibilities” when getting behind the wheel.

A document the department submitted to the Legislative Council earlier this month also revealed the number of accidents caused by rolling vehicles with improperly set handbrakes rose from 19 in the first 10 months last year to 25 in the same period this year.

Ringo Lee Yiu-pu, chairman of the Institute of the Motor Industry Hong Kong, said there were four precautions a driver should take before leaving a vehicle parked on a slope.

After applying the handbrake firmly, a driver should turn the wheel in the direction of the nearest kerb.

“This way, if the car rolls, it will hit the gutter, or at worst roll onto the pavement,” Lee said.

If the vehicle is facing down a slope, drivers should also put the car in reverse gear before killing the engine, he said.

Drivers should also take the key from the ignition, which will shut down most vehicles, he added.