The MTRC bye-laws say almost nothing specifically about bikes. There is not a ‘no bikes’ rule. Instead, MTRC management and operational staff may try to prevent the carriage of bikes by reference to various ‘rules’ or issues:
- The dimensions limit: ‘Don’t bring these items into MTR premises: Bulky objects or goods with total dimensions (ie. length, width and height) exceeding 170 cm or the length of any one side exceeding 130 cm’ (eg. here). Note that, even with a wheel removed, the height+length+width of a bike indeed exceeds the 170 cm.The rule was introduced by KCRC in 2002, and tightened in 2005, to deal with concerns about people shipping goods (for trade) to and from China, on East Rail
- MTR By-law 4A:
No vehicles, animals, etc. to be brought across the railway premises
No person shall pass or attempt to bring, pass, drive or conduct any motor vehicle, bicycle, motorcycle or other similar conveyance or any handcart, barrow or similar conveyance or any thing including animals across the railway premises or any part thereof at any time except by notice published by or on behalf of the Corporation under this by-law nor shall any such person omit to shut or refasten any gate, door, chain or barrier as soon as he and any conveyance, animal or other thing has passed through the same.
Maximum penalty: HK$5,000 fine and six months imprisonment
Summary Offences Ordinance (Cap 228), Section 27 – Power to apprehend in certain cases
Any person found committing any offence punishable under this Ordinance may be apprehended by the owner of the property on or with respect to which the offence is committed, or by his servant or any person authorized by him, and may be detained until he can be delivered into the custody of a police officer to be dealt with according to law.
We believe that the intent of this rule is to prevent the blockage of the tracks by vehicles, livestock etc at track level. Its use to prevent the carriage of bicycles on the train seems questionable.
Note: this rule was directly inherited from the old KCRC, when MTRC took it over in 2007. It had been in place for many years.
- “bikes are dangerous” – argued in various forms by frontline and helpline staff, such as “the bike will roll down the train”. Also, “it may frighten other passengers”.
Removal of wheel
At various times, MTR passengers with bicycles have been told/required to remove the front wheel, by either frontline staff or (see below) MTRC itself. The reasons given can be highly varied, often related vaguely to ‘safety’ and ‘inconvenience to other passengers’. But the reason that comes out if pushed, and we have this orally and in writing (from the old KCRC) is that passengers with cyclists are assumed too irresponsible not to ride around on the platform.
In 2010, after pressure from Hong Kong Cycling Alliance and others, MTRC informed us, through Transport Department, that:
MTRCL would exercise some flexibility in allowing carriage of bicycle on board of East Rail and Tung Chung Line if the wheels of the bikes were removed. In response to CA’s enquiry, TD said that the MTRCL had confirmed they had no intention to provide such flexibility on the West Rail Line.
How it should be
We expect that, as a monopoly transport provider, with a supposed commitment to the environment, MTRC should act to facilitate the use by Hong Kong people of cycling as part of our transportation system.
- Rules and trains should be adapted to enable and encourage the carriage of bikes.
- Bike parking, adequate in extent and quality, should be provided at all MTR stations.