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Laws and regulations 法律及條例

The following is a discussion of the ordinances (laws) and regulations of Hong Kong relating to bicycles. Like driving, there are certain fixed penalties including fines and jail time for careless and reckless cycling. Pedestrians generally have more freedom to move about as they are not considered vehicles, and there are apparently no rules or penalties against walking carelessly, though there are cases where such could be considered contributory negligence in the event of a collision.

A bicycle is classified as a vehicle under Hong Kong law and as such you are required to stop when asked by a uniformed police officer or traffic warden, or else face a HK$2000 fine. You must also obey traffic signs and have your HK ID card with you at all times.

Summary of laws and regulations

Various regulations covering cycling and bicycles stipulate that:

  • Cycling is not allowed in road tunnels.
  • You may not ride, carry or push a bicycle in any country park or ‘special area’, except on a designated cycling path with a valid country parks cycling permit, unless you are “ordinarily resident” in that area.
  • Where designated cycle paths are available, you cannot ride on the road alongside.
  • Many bridges have a sign indicating that cycling and pedestrians are prohibited.  The sign has legal force, although there is no general law or regulation about cycling on bridges.
  • Bicycles may not be rented to unaccompanied children (under 11), who also may not control a multi-cycle unless accompanied by an adult. An exception is when rental is made for use only on designated cycle paths.
  • Any child (under 11) must be accompanied by an adult to ride a bicycle on a “road” (道路).
  • A “road” (道路) does not include footpaths, pedestrian walkways, or designated bike paths.
  • Every bike must have a bell, and no other warning system is allowed (such as a horn or perhaps even a loud shout!).
  • When ridden at night (or in poor visibility), a bicycle must be fitted with a white light at front and a red light at the back.
  • A rear-facing reflector is required, apparently at any time. It should be at least 40 mm diameter or equivalent.
  • A brake must be fitted to any bicycle, tricycle, or multicycle wheel larger than 460 mm.
  • Passengers may not be carried, except children under 3 years, in a “properly fitted seat” (Cap 374G Regs 51 and 53) *in a recent case, the judge said that the regulation (53) has priority over regulation (51) that explains how to count the number of people allowed on a bicycle and regulation (51) is clear and forbids any person what ever their age.
  • On a bike, you may not transport dangerous goods [Cat. 5] (i.e. flammable substances) other than two 20-litre tins of kerosene.
  • Cycling while under the influence of drugs or alcohol can result in a fine the first time, and up to three months imprisonment for a repeated offence.
  • Electric bicycles and bikes fitted with add-on motors are considered illegal by the Transport Department, based on its interpretation of the law. (See TD Q&A, qu. 13)
  • If your bike has a regenerative braking device, you must have third-party insurance.
  • Cyclists have a duty to stop in case of accidents (if there is any damage, even without any injury)

 

**IMPORTANT: The above information is provided for reference only and should not be considered legal advice. The government BLIS legal database at www.legislation.gov.hk contains the full text of all Hong Kong laws. **

30 Responses

  • Simon Watkiss says:

    I cycle to work and try and use the cycle track as much as possible. I ride quite fast which in urban area is dangerous as pedestrians randomly step out onto play sit and even practice tai chi on the cycle tracks. I have been trying to find out what the law is concerning pedestrians on cycle tracks. This seems to be a mystery or secret. I have called the 1823 hotline which was as useless as normal no one ever phones back when I am available and searches on the TD website comes up with nothing. So what can I do to find out about can pedestrians use cycle tracks?

  • Martin Turner says:

    Good question. I am quite sure that it is illegal for pedestrians to ‘use’ cycle tracks, which must mean walking along them, but allowing them to cross, safely. This is based on discussions with TD and police about enforcement, in which no one seems to doubt that pedestrians shouldn’t be there.

    But I haven’t yet got an actual legal reference for that. I’ll try to dig it out for you.

  • Rudy says:

    Hello,

    I am writing to ask if it may be possible to talk to Martin Turner on BBC Radio 5 Live’s “Up All Night” programme this evening. I have been reading about his court case and we would like to talk to get him with our presenter Dotun Adebayo. Tel is +44 161 335 6504.

    Kind regards,
    Rudy Noriega

  • valerie says:

    hi i was just wondering whether having someone ride on the backseat of the bike is permitted in hong kong.

    • wheeliefine says:

      Unfortunately, the law says no:
      Cap 374G Road Traffic (Traffic Control) Regulations – Reg 51 (3) No person riding a bicycle or tricycle on a road shall carry .. any other person. (Note that ‘road’ includes cycle tracks, and everywhere else.)

      As with most such rules, the police are likely to ignore you, unless they are assigned to a (biannual) ‘get the cyclists’ campaign, in which case they’ll prosecute (or at least warn) every minor infraction they can find.

      • Brian says:

        However under Regulation: 53 Carriage of passengers L.N. 66 of 2005 30/06/2005

        (1) For the purpose of establishing the number of persons that may be carried in a vehicle-
        (a) a child under the age of 3 years shall not be counted;

        • Brian says:

          If this is correct, it is okay to carry a child under the age of 3, however on the child’s third birthday it becomes illegal.

          • wheeliefine says:

            Well spotted Brian! Reg 53 does seem to clearly allow kids up to 3 years old to be carried on a bike, on ” a properly constructed seat secured to the [bike frame]”.

            We’ve amended our advice accordingly (this page), but see also the experience of Toulouse (this page).

  • Mary says:

    What are the rules on pedestrians walking across cycle paths? I assume its to look both ways before crossing? I just had a close incounter with a child and their helper walking straight out into the path, luckily I breaked in time! It came to me that there isn’t enough warning or awareness in hk on cycle path safety. It’s be one an obvious problem on the cycle path from tai wai- tai po market..

  • Hugo Kwok says:

    Hi

    This is Hugo from SKY BLUE BIKES in Sheung Wan.

    Would you explain more what does it mean “regenerative braking”?

    That would be helpful to us to advise cyclists have a safety ride if we understanding in this term.

    Thanks
    Hugo

  • Bob Neville says:

    Hi Guys
    I am a long time cyclist, cycled thousands of miles, completed numerous Ironman Races and have lived in Hong Kong for 20 years. My question is simply are tandem bikes illegal in HK? I understand the danger of a bike designed for one person carrying two people, or animals or over loaded with Shell Gas bottles but our Santana Tandem is designed as a tandem, upgraded hubs, 10inch disc brake, lights, bell, helmets etc etc. My wife (stoker) is partially sited and can not ride a bike on her own.
    We just got stopped by the Police on our tandem and were told Tandems are illegal in HK, when we challenged them they showed us the above laws however they also said they had never seen a tandem…then seemed to back off.
    pas·sen·ger (psn-jr) n. A person who travels in a conveyance, such as a car or train, without participating in its operation.
    As you can see by definition my wife (the stoker) is not a passenger.
    You comments, advice would be appreciated.
    Bob

    • CHOW Sing Sing says:

      Hi Bob,

      I am now interested in tandem bike.
      My wife can ride on her own ONLY without any pressure.
      She afraid of riding close to vehicles and would lose control.
      Unfortunately, we live on Hong Kong Island where we must ride on road.

      I would like to buy a tandem bike and ride with her.

      Someone says it is illegal to ride a tandem bike in Hong Kong and hence search around to see if he/she is correct.
      How was your experience when the police stopped you?
      Have you ever check if tandem bike is illegal?

      Thank you.

  • Sonny says:

    Is Bike Baby Trailer allowed in Hong Kong?

    • Nick says:

      Hello Sonny,

      Unfortunately the law forbids carrying any passengers on bicycles, and I think this would include trailers also, though it might be worth checking with other people on the facebook page.

    • Ethan says:

      Following up on the trailer question, does anyone know if a storage trailer (no passenger) is legal on the road? What ordinance governs that?

      I’m trying to do something like this for a project. Just wondering if it is legal or how I can circumvent it if it isn’t:

      http://www.chinadailyasia.com/focus/2015-06/05/content_15272772.html

      Thank you.

      • storage trailers are a grey area in Hong Kong… the below text is an extract relating to bicycles towing things:

        Chapter 374G Regulation 51 ( Additional rules for bicycles, tricycles and rickshaws )
        (2) No person riding a bicycle or tricycle or in charge of a rickshaw on a road shall-
        (a) grasp, or allow the vehicle to be towed by, any other vehicle; or
        (b) tow any other vehicle.

        A trailer is defined as a vehicle towed by a motor vehicle:

        Chapter 374 Section 2 (Interpretation)
        trailer (拖車) means a vehicle which is not mechanically propelled and is towed or intended for towing by a motor vehicle, including any semi-trailer or draw bar trailer;

        However a bicycle is not a motor vehicle, so it is not clear if something pulled by a bicycle is a trailer under the law, though it might be argued that it was? It is certainly worth checking with a lawyer/police first.

  • TOULOUSE says:

    HELLO,

    “Passengers may not be carried, except children under 3 years, in a “properly fitted seat” is NOT CORRECT.

    I defend my case in front of a JUDGE in TW court and the judge say the regulation (53) is priority on the regulation (51) that explain how to count the number of people that was allowed and regulation (51) is clear and forbidden any person what ever is age.

    CASE TWS9425/2014

    • Nick says:

      Hi Toulouse,

      thanks for your comment, I’ve added that information to the advice above as a note, and I expect other people might have their own views below in later comments, on how the judge interpreted the regulations.

      Nick.

  • Brian says:

    I have a few questions that I would like clarified if possible. First, is a HK ID required or can you use your passport while riding a bicycle in Hong Kong? Second, is a helmet required for adults? Third, does the bicycle you are riding need to be registered in order for you to be allowed to legally ride it in Hong Kong? and Finally, is it completely illegal to ride on the sidewalk? as I have noticed that taxis and buses don’t all keep their distance when driving past you. and where can I find more detailed instruction on the law in regards to riding bicycles in Hong Kong?

    Thank you,
    Brian

    • wheeliefine says:

      Brian, briefly, you don’t need ID, helmet, registration or permission to ride a bike in Hong Kong. It’s a free country! (Ok, that last bit is slightly contentious. But riding a bike is completely open to you.)

      Yes, it is (almost) always illegal to ride on the pavement. Although there are many places where this seems a sensible option (eg. alongside narrow, busy NT roads where no one walks), you run a real risk of prosecution if it’s during one of the regular police crackdowns on cyclists.
      As for the laws on cycling matters, you won’t find much better than here, and if you do, please share it with us.

  • Trevor Langford says:

    Maybe Hong Kong should find a way to allow licensing and insurance for ebikes albeit for cycle ways only. Safety features should be compulsory as a statutory legal requirement. E drive should be isolated when the pedals are not turning hence direct fixed pedal drive to be illegal. A speed limiter should be fitted to prevent e drive engagement as it is a ride assist system only. There would be more cyclists and less motorists or less demand for fossil burning public transport if this option was made available and economically viable if this government is serious about environmental issues and policies. It is my understanding that electric mobility wheelchairs are not licensed or illegal and some are quite fast and dangerous in the wrong hands. Not only that but I have seen passengers of all ages standing on the rear section of the wheel chair. Is this a contradiction to the HK law? Are we discriminated from personal electric mobility on public cycle paths because we do not qualify as a registered disabled person?

    • Trevor Langford says:

      Has anyone ever been hit by someone operating an electric mobility wheelchair as it nearly happened to me on two occasions where I had to suddenly take evasive action? If I was not vigilant then I would have most certainly been hit and subject to injuries.

  • Lotto says:

    Should I rent a bicycle from rental company to ride at night if it is not fitted with white light in front and red light at back? Will I be caught or the rental company? Can I blame the rental company?

  • Joe says:

    Are there laws or regulations regarding tall bikes? Like limits on a certain height?

    • wheeliefine says:

      Um, nope, no laws about height.

      There are some dimensional restrictions on the position of the reflector, that you might run foul of if you have an odd-shaped ride. The rear-facing reflector has to be between 0.38 and 1.1m above the ground, and not more than 0.5m from the extreme rear of the bike.

      And of course, a police officer might decide that you were “riding carelessly” or some such catch-all offence, if he didn’t think *he* could handle your tall bike.

  • RG says:

    I have received a magistrate’s summons for riding without both hands on the bar. (It was for all of 10 seconds, and I was in control of the bike with no other traffic or pedestrians around – other than the policeman who booked me.) Any practical experience suggestions for mitigating the statutory fine attached to this offence?



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