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In Legco yesterday, the tourism industry rep, YIU Si Wing (姚思榮) asked Transport and Housing Bureau if it was/would:

(a) extend the cycle track network to former Frontier area;
(b) develop cycle tracks on the harbourfront;
(c) set up a public bicycle hiring system
(d) promote cycling tourism

Responses from Anthony Cheung, the Secretary for Transport and Housing, were, in summary:

a) yes, perhaps;
b) [ignored question];
c) no; and
d) ‘yes’ [but actually only trivially]

The first ‘perhaps’ is worth noting: about cycle tracks going into the former Frontier Closed Area.  All leisure cycle tracks are a plus for Hong Kong, though we need to keep pointing out that they are merely a feature, and certainly not the sum total of cycling here, as TD likes to pretend.  So half a cheer for that ‘perhaps’.

Regarding public bicycle rental systems, the Secretary referred to the TD study that was finally released earlier this year (“Traffic and Transport Consultancy Study on Cycling Networks and Parking Facilities in Existing New Towns in Hong Kong“), which was overly narrow in scope, two years late, trivial in its analysis and negative or inconclusive on the issues it was supposed to study.

Based on that, he rejected any kind of public bicycle rental system (referring to new towns, and ignoring everywhere else), because a) it needs many nodes; b) it requires some load balancing between nodes (moving bikes around to meet need); c) maintenance of bikes; d) existing private rental services “can already meet demand”; e) Hong Kong’s land resources are too limited to provide public rental points.

What a load of tripe!  Firstly, there are also excellent potential locations for a public bike share scheme outside the new towns, such as in Kai Tak Development / CBD2, West Kowloon, along the new NT Cycle Track Network, and of course, along the Harbourfront Cycleway (when we ultimately force it into existence).

His responses a), b) and c) simply cite characteristics of a public bicycle rental system, no different from those handled by the 500+ (and rapidly rising) schemes around the world, especially in mainland China.  Along with response e), he’s peddling the old canard that Hong Kong is so special that the rest of the world can teach us nothing.  And finally, by citing existing rental he is missing the whole value of a network of pick-up and drop-off points. (actually ‘protecting’ the business of a handful of operators, who’d probably anyway benefit from the upsurge in interest, if only they could adapt to it.)

The question about developing cycle tracks along the harbourfront was flatly ignored.  How can a government minister do that?  Didn’t the THB read the question?  Does it think no one will notice?  Or does it simply have no respect for Legco and not care who knows?

All in all, the Secretary’s reply showed that our government still doesn’t ‘get’ cycling, or its obligation to work for us.

More work to do.

See:
Press release, with full text

Blogpost about cycle tracks (‘我們的單車徑’) by Secretary for Development Paul Chan (陳茂波),
22 Sept 2013 (Chinese only)

 

 

After three years, Transport Department has casually put up on its website the ‘Nine Towns Study’ that it has been promising for so long:
Traffic and Transport Consultancy Study on Cycling Networks, Parking Facilities in Existing New Towns in Hong Kong

I’ve not had time to read it all yet, but, like the interim reports, the result seems underwhelming.  It only ever tried to look at cycle tracks and a few specific facilities in new towns, not general cycling on roads and the cycling environment as a whole.  Or planning ahead for New Development Areas.  And I note that the original scope has been cut, with no sign of the promised “conceptual improvement layout plan for each new town”.

On parking, it notes that there is not enough designated parking (that took three years to work out?) but the discussion quickly drops into TD’s favourite issue of what style of parking facility to buy, rather than, say, how to measure and determine where parking is necessary, especially small-scale distributed parking, away from the obvious MTR locations.  (Cyclehoop, anybody?)

The issue of poor connectivity of tracks is identified, which is good, but this problem will never be successfully addressed until we aim to maximise throughflow of bike traffic — as in, prioritising cyclists wherever possible, and certainly wherever bikes are the major flow.  No mention of that here.

The proposals, within this narrow remit, seem mostly small-scale and unimaginative.  So we have a three-year, multi-million-dollar report suggesting things like:

  • put up plastic bollards in place of steel – to reduce injury severity (already TD’s plan, when they should be removed entirely to .. er .. eliminate the injuries altogether);
  • paint markings to guide cyclists away from obstacles (just a stopgap: where are the planning guidelines for obstacle-free cycleways?);
  • paint track surface colours to show trunk and local routes (irrelevant if tracks are still used by commuters, wobblers, sports riders, and kids, with no policy consideration of who and what the tracks are for. Or real training.)
  • lots of soft padding on things in the way, such as newly erected poles carrying mirrors.
  • installing railings designed to make parking your bike harder (when it’s not even an offence to park a bike on a footway, central reserve, verge, hard shoulder etc, if no danger or actual obstruction is caused).

Of course, the study makes a number of valid points and raises genuine issues.  In particular, it presses for tracks to be connected at various places where currently there are gaps (and recognises that this will involve rebalancing some priorities). It also calls for the implementation of shared footpaths; improved signage and surface markings; cyclist access to leisure facilities (ie. everywhere managed by LCSD); and having Highways Dept staff cycle the tracks at night to determine lighting needs. Many specific problem locations on tracks are enumerated.

If the government, starting with TD, intends to act positively, the study could point towards some modest improvements for cyclists in the new towns.

However, in essence, by looking only at cycle tracks, with no assessment of wider transport policy, patterns of cycle journeys made, and aspirations among cyclists and potential cyclists, it was never going to offer a strategy for more effectively incorporating cycling into our communities.  Then by proposing largely what TD is already thinking (or has done!) – minor capital expenditure that tinkers with existing infrastructure, and no solid planning basis for avoiding the same mistakes in future – it falls sadly flat.

More detailed comment will follow.

You can read the report here:

http://www.td.gov.hk/filemanager/en/publication/td_194_2009_es_eng.pdf

 

方便推單車上落樓梯的斜道(星加坡)bicycle pullway in Singapore

方便推單車上落樓梯的斜道(星加坡)

單車泊位(星加坡)

單車泊位(星加坡)

這個渡假村加設了單車泊位及方便推單車上落樓梯的斜道,是兩年前我到訪此地時未見有的。希望很快在香港也能見到類似單車專用斜道這樣的小設施,雖然星加坡也不算是對單車有完善支援的城巿,但小小一個設施已反映著和香港不一樣的態度。

 

東海岸公園的單車徑(星加坡)

東海岸公園的單車徑(星加坡)

這和馬路差不多一樣寬闊的路不是馬路,是位於東海岸公園的單車徑,攝於東海岸公園海鮮中心對出。希望香港的單車徑都有這個水準。

Are cyclists killing themselves on the roads, or is it time for the Hong Kong Government and the police to realise that the majority of cyclists killed each year are cycling on the roads, and are killed by vehicles.

The Hong Kong Police are about to start one of their biannual safe cycling campaigns, giving the police a chance to tell cyclists how to behave whilst letting drivers of vehicles who are the real dangers on the roads for cyclists, continue to put cyclists lives at risk.

Does anyone really believe that cyclists need telling how to behave around drivers?

Anyone who cycles on the roads here already knows the rules and how to ride safely without needing the police to tell them how to do it. The best way to bring down the numbers of cyclists killed in Hong Kong each year is to start proper driver education, showing drivers how to behave around cyclists.

Here is the press release:

Safe cycling campaign to launch in Hong Kong

Police will hold a citywide safe cycling campaign from September 19 to 25, taking stringent enforcement action on cyclists disobeying road rules.

Between January and August, there were 1,639 traffic accidents involving bicycles, resulting in 1,540 cyclist casualties. The figures are up 11% and 10% on last year. Six cyclists died in traffic accidents in the first eight months of this year, a decrease of four when compared with the same period last year.

Common cycling offences include carrying another person, carrying an animal or article which obstructs the cyclist’s view, riding a bicycle on the footpath, and riding without illuminated lights.

HKCAll has surveyed candidates in Sunday’s (9 Sept) elections for the Legislative Council for their views on cycling.

The results show that many strongly support the substantive development of cycling for Hong Kong.  Some are better informed than others, but this is an important time for progress in many areas, with important decisions being made about key development projects, such as West Kowloon, Kai Tak and Northern District, as well as the sluggish development of the New Territories Cycling Network.  Moreover, we believe that now is the time to address the yawning policy void that the government has with regards to cycling.

It is vital that the new Legco is able to press our government to implement the visionary policies we need if Hong Kong is to properly serve the increasing number of cyclists of all stripes, and more importantly to justify its ‘world city’ label with planning and administration that integrates cycling, to ease traffic congestion, facilitate personal mobility, improve the quality of our environment (air pollution, noise pollution, excessive concrete and roads) and raise health and wellness levels for our whole population.

See what the candidates had to say.

 

 

 

運輸署剛剛發佈了新一段「單車安全」短片。此14分鐘短片將在各學校及警署、車輛牌照事務處等政府場地巡迴播放。

網上版本共分為6段:裝備、騎單車基本技巧、實戰篇–單車徑上、實戰篇–馬路上、駕駛者須知、行人須知。

訴說本同盟會對影片意見之前,何不由你來評論?

Chinese version

The Transport Department has just released a new ‘Cycling Safety’ video.  It’s 14 minutes long and will be shown in schools and at government offices open to the public, such as vehicle licensing centres and police stations.

This online version is split into six sections: Equipment, Basic Skills, Riding on Cycle Tracks, Riding on the Road, For Motorists and For Pedestrians.

Rather than telling you what we think of it, immediately, why not take a look and tell us your view?

English version

Extracted from the excellent Streetsblog website.

Next time you’re just minding your own business, riding your bike, and someone drives by and shouts something at you, perhaps the best reply is to smile, wave, and say “you’re welcome.”

As Jay Walljasper at Shareable Cities reminds us today, more bicycling is good news for everyone — not just cyclists:

Even if you will never ride a bike in your life, you still see benefits from increased levels of biking. More bicyclists mean less congestion in the streets and less need for expensive road projects that divert government money from other important problems. Off-road paths, bike lanes, sidewalks and other bike and ped improvements cost a fraction of what it takes to widen streets and highways. It’s proven that bicycling and walking increase people’s health and reduce obesity, which will translate into huge cost savings for government and a boost for our economy.

Policies that are good for bicyclists actually benefit everyone on the streets. Good conditions for bicycling also create good conditions for pedestrians. And what makes the streets safer for bikes, also makes them safer for motorists.

Higher gas prices (which have topped four bucks for the third time in four years) means more Americans are looking for other ways to get around. Bikes offer people more choices in transportation. This is especially true for people whose communities are not well served by mass transportation or where distances are too far to walk to work or shopping.

Kinda ironic that these are the activities that get targeted as “money wasters” by most governments around the world.

Anita Lo, Martin Turner liked this post

位於大欖郊野公園的田夫仔北段越野單車徑今日(2012年3月4日)開始啟用。由國際越野單車協會設計的新單車徑全長 2.1公里,連接原有的荃錦段越野單車徑,其中 1.4公里路段為天然泥路面,整條單車徑適合有一定越野單車技術水平的市民使用。

http://hk.apple.nextmedia.com/template/apple/art_main.php?iss_id=20120304&sec_id=4104&subsec_id=11867&art_id=16124381

最新一期有關啟德發展的「啟德新里程」的第八期通訊 (2012年3月)中,提出使用高架單軌列車作為區內的主要連接交通工具,也提到路面環保公共交通工具,包括超低硫柴油巴士(歐盟五期排放標準)和液化石油氣小巴,可是對早前和團體討論過會在區內建單車徑以方便踏單車在區內作連接的方案仍然是隻字不提。

啟德作為全新發展的區域,完全可以在開始規劃時便把單車這環保交通工具放在規劃圖之上,可是現在的發展看不到是這樣。

香港一定不可以錯失這個在巿區建設環保單車徑的黃金機會,在啟德這小區內,單車的效率完全可以比得上甚至遠超過任何一種交通工具。其環保表現,使任何用超低硫柴油、液化石油氣及電力的交通工具自慚形穢,其在不應忽略它在交通上的作用及貢獻。

On Sunday, a Public Forum was held to discuss the latest revisions and updates to the planned Tseung Kwan O – Lam Tin Tunnel and Cross Bay Link. In development for at least 20 years, according to one outspoken attendee, the plan is meant to enhance road transport networks and connectivity in the area, with the added benefit of providing a cycle track loop of around 1km – completely isolated from road and pedestrian traffic – with great views, crossing an “infinity bridge” spanning Junk Bay.

上週日舉行了一次公眾研討會,討論將軍澳-藍田隧道及跨灣連接路的最新修訂。根據一名與會者所言,在未來最少20年的發展中,是次計劃目的在於加強道路交通網,連接區內各處,並提供約1公里長的環迴單車徑。完全與馬路分離的單車徑不但不會與行人爭路,而且沿路風景秀麗,穿越橫跨將軍澳的「無限吊索橋」。

At least one TKO resident spoke out on the urgent need for the cycle track to connect the various housing developments, requesting that it be implemented “as soon as possible,” and there seemed to be general agreement from all sides – including presenting parties from CEDD, Aecom, and Arup – that a continuous, interconnected cycle track was a pressing need. Specifically, WM Wong, Chief Engineer for CEDD, promised a cycle track connecting Lohas Park to Tseung Kwan O South in the next 1-2 years, at the very least, and remarked that commuting purposes were being given careful consideration. The crossbay link will of course take a long time to build – up to ten years – but in the meantime, we are told, cycle tracks will be built and put into use to connect estates in the area.

最少兩名將軍澳居民表明單車徑以連接區內多個屋苑的逼切性,並要求計劃盡快落實。各方團體—包括土木工程署、Aecom、奧雅納—似乎對此項目均表讚同,認為一條連貫而相互連接的單車徑有其實際需要。土木工程署總工程師黃偉文先生承諾,起碼於未來1至2年內修築由日出康城到將軍澳南的單車徑,並強調已深入考慮「單車通勤」因素。無可否認,跨灣連接路或需要10年時間完成,但最少在此刻當局表明:工程將包括單車徑以連接區內各屋邨住宅。

Project  項目工程 : http://www.tko-ltt.hk/

If you live in TKO or are interested in this project and would like to keep in touch with other cyclists to monitor progress, drop a line to info@hkcyclingalliance.org.
如果您是將軍澳居民,或有意與其他單車人士繼續一起關注並監察此項目進度,請馬上電郵至: info@hkcyclingalliance.org

[Thanks to Brandon Kirk for this report]
鳴謝Brandon Kirk是項報導

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