Tram Tracks 電車軌

In Hong Kong, riding inbetween the tram tracks is done by quite a few delivery cyclists, and can be a good (and relatively traffic free) way of getting along Hong Kong Island, though there is the ever-present danger of the tram tracks, and the bumpiness of the road painted tram markings.


How to safely cross tram tracks

If your bicycle wheel, especially the front wheel, slips or gets caught on trams tracks it can result in a nasty fall. The key to dealing with tram tracks is to cross them at a right angle (or at least a big angle) in an upright position, avoid braking and move your weight back on the saddle. The skills apply to all slippery surfaces including tram tracks and are especially important in the wet when things are extra slippery.


As for other road riding skills, the key is looking ahead and planning your actions. Look ahead for tram tracks and select your travel line and actions beforehand rather than having to bail out at the last moment and risk putting yourself in a hazardous situation.


The two most common tram track crashes are:

  • The front wheel sliding out from under you on the tracks, and
  • One or both wheels getting caught in the tracks.
  • 前輪往兩旁滑開
  • 車輪卡在路軌中

The key to avoiding both is to cross the tracks as close as possible to a right angle – avoid crossing tram tracks while travelling parallel or near to parallel to the tracks. Start your turn before you cross the tram tracks so you are in an upright position and not actually turning when you cross the tracks.


When trams turn at road intersections the tracks take a long arc around the corner. This means you may find yourself crossing the tracks at less than a right angle. Don’t panic – just stay off the brakes, move your weight back on the saddle and “coast” over the tracks at the biggest angle possible (try for more than a 45 degree angle to the tracks).


Watch out for trams 小心電車

Sounds obvious but it has to be said. Don’t forget to look for trams when crossing tram tracks – they can be travelling at over 30 km/h. Sometimes when cycling on the road you may get too focused on cars and trucks and can forget about trams. Trams can hide behind other trams as can cars and trucks, so make sure both directions are clear before crossing tram tracks. Pay particular attention when crossing behind a tram as it can hide trams and vehicles travelling in the opposite direction.


Stop for tram passengers 電單上落客,請停車

Bicycles, as legal road vehicles, are required like all other vehicles to stop behind trams that have stopped on the road to pick up or drop of passengers.


So ride sensibly, look ahead and anticipate. Remember:  right angles; no brakes; weight back, and you’re on track.


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2 Responses

  • Chung says:

    Is it legal to ride inbetween tram tracks; especially so for tram tracks which being marked as out of bound for other motor vehicles considering bikes are treated as an ordinary vehicle?

    • wheeliefine says:

      Short answer: we’re not sure. Advice is conflicted and it’s hard to tell from the ordinances.

      For instance, the Tram regulations (Cap 107, s68) say:

      Nothing in this Ordinance shall take away or abridge the right of the public to pass along or across every or any part of any public road along or across which the tramway is laid, whether on or off the tramway, with carriages, cars or vehicles not having flange-wheels suitable only to run on the rails of the tramway.

      Some police have said that we should not use tramlines; others can’t see why not.

      Normal road rules apply, of course, – so if you cross double white lines, that must be illegal. But if you join the tramway at an open crossing, and then ride along, between (but not crossing) double white lines? Not sure.
      Other normal road laws / RUC rules apply, such as that all vehicles (with bikes especially specified) are supposed to keep left when not passing.

      From a safety point of view, I’m concerned that tramlines are not good for us – junctions are not designed for us to be aware of other vehicle movements, or other drivers to be expecting us. There can be debris on the tracks, and tram passengers aren’t expecting us either, so cycling fast is not really possible.

      Moreover, in the big picture, if we use the tramlines, ie. avoid using the road, motorists and the public get the wrong impression that we aren’t supposed to be on the road. We are, we have the right. If we don’t use it, we may lose it!

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