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An interesting new report from Civic Exchange takes a detailed look at how we should be moving around – and enjoying – our built space, here in Hong Kong.  It focuses on walking but embraces cycling as part of a much-needed shift in thinking towards personal mobility.  Cycling and walking are together at the core of a global change in urban planning that is sadly not yet seriously encountered within the realm of .gov.hk.

The report points out that, increasingly, other world cities are improving transport by making “more priority to cycling and walking” a policy goal. The quote is from Melbourne, but similar examples from London, New York, Seoul, Toronto and many others are included.

If reading this study makes you want a more cyclable, as well as a more walkable, Hong Kong, and you’d like to be a part of making it happen, please contact us!

Report

 

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最近在中國大陸的報章也有討論香港的單車政策,我們在此也作出幾點回應。以下是南方都巿報的文章,接著是我的簡單回應。

2012-10-29南方都市報
公共交通發達,何須追求“單車城市”
作者:黎媛(深圳,前駐港記者)
摘要:近日,有港媒報導,近年倫敦、紐約等大城市正致力打造“單車城市”,而踩單車在香港也日趨流行,只是香港市區道路設計並不鼓勵單車行駛,但是,既然倫敦等城市可以做到,香港為什麼要對“單車城市”絕對地說不呢?
發現香港
近日,有港媒報導,近年倫敦、紐約等大城市正致力打造“單車城市”,而踩單車在香港也日趨流行,只是香港市區道路設計並不鼓勵單車行駛,但是,既然倫敦等城市可以做到,香港為什麼要對“單車城市”絕對地說不呢?
單車確是低碳、環保的出行方式,騎單車又能強身健體,但是“有些風你不必跟”。香港完全沒有必要成為所謂的“單車城市”,因為香港的公共交通已較成熟,它的最大亮點就是“無縫接駁”。
……(請按這連結閱讀這文章:http://gcontent.oeeee.com/d/68/d68a18275455ae3e/Blog/b08/06dc06.html)

回應

不錯,香港的公共交通比國內外的許多城市都發達,但是,是否香港的交通已經完美?香港就不需要單車作為交通工具的好處?

現在香港交通的壞處:

1.交通擠塞問題:當然香港的道路有暢通的時間,但是難道香港無交通擠塞問題嗎,這不用說了吧,人們看運輸署的即時道路情況報告是用來做什麼的,豈不是要在出門前留意交通擠塞的情況嗎?

2.交通費用:公共交通不斷加價,遠超過通漲,香港人是肉隨鉆板上,亳無其他交通選擇,貧窮人為省車資,寧願走路大半個小時不上巴士的大有人在。

3.空氣污染:香港的空氣污染主要來自汽車,包括公共交通,不要忘了地鐵用的電力也是燒煤產生的,這也算環保嗎?

4.使用公共交通費時失事:等巴士小巴、排隊、上上落落地面地底….普通的一個半小時車程,可能要加上另外半小時用來等車及上落地鐵等。而且車子不一定由門口直達門口,仍要轉車及走路。

5.公共交通人多擠迫:住在香港迫巴士迫地鐵是注定要受的苦嗎?每天這樣迫車真叫人累,也不利身心健康。

6.即使公共交通發達,香港的汽車還是太多:「按政府的2009交通統計年報 12,2009年全香港的登記和註冊車輛分別有642270和584070架,而其中私人轎車(Private Car)則為429754和 393812架,佔全港車輛67%之多,而公共運輸車輛(巴士、小巴、非專營巴士)則只有19739和19585架,只佔全港車輛約3.3%。所以,換句話說,私人轎車使用者,在市區土地中佔一至兩成的「道路」用地的使用分額,比沒擁有私人轎車的大眾市民,實在高出很多。」(趙智勳,無法使用單車的城市;文化研究@嶺南 第二十三期 2011年3月)

7.為大量汽車建大量道路浪費巿區珍貴土地:「香港佔地1108平方公里,農地、魚塘、林地、灌叢、劣地、水塘、墳場等按常理較少人使用或低度開發的土地佔了735平方公里,市區用地(概括的有住宅、商業、工業、機構/休憩、道路、鐵路、機場用地)則佔了約211平方公里。但是,單就市區用地中「道路」一項,就已經佔了42平方公里,差不多是兩成市區土地,比起「私人住宅」和「公屋」用地的總和(41平方公里)還稍稍多一點。」(趙智勳,無法使用單車的城市;文化研究@嶺南 第二十三期 2011年3月)

8.交通安全問題:小巴的車速高是好事嗎?2011年交通意外死亡人數為130人,絕大部分是由汽車直接引起,可是我們已接受了馬路的危機性,汽車為城巿帶來的危險是我們必須要接受的嗎?為什麼我們的小孩子在街上不可以自由走動,一定要由成人拖著手一刻也不可以放手?

單車卻正好可以解決以上香港的問題:

1.解決交通擠塞問題:有否留意路上的巴士不是所有都滿座的,而只有司機一人的私家車比比皆是。鼓勵使用單車可減少車輛,減少交通擠塞,外國正是用限制汽車及鼓勵單車的方法來解決交通擠塞。

2.節省交通費用:幾個月的交通費已經可以夠買一輛單車。

3.零空氣污染:單車是世上最環保的交通工具,只有踏單車者的二氧化碳排放,電力車及地鐵也要用煤發電,並不算環保。

4.巿區內直接及快速的交通:香港巿區面積小,單車十分方便,短距離比任何的交通工具都要快,因不用等車,不會塞車,而且是點到點直達門口,世上哪有另一種更方便的交通工具!筆者試過踏單車和家人乘的士比賽,家人上了的士之後我踏單車同時起步,10分鐘後我比他們還快回到家門(注意:我是等她們找到了的士,讓她們上了車才一同出發,足足讓了她們幾分鐘)。

5.享受旅程:踏單車是健康及開心的事,有些單車代步者寧願刻意踏長一些距離享受旅程。

6.減少汽車:鼓勵單車,自然可減少公共汽車及私家車。

7.節省珍貴土地:停泊著及在路面行駛的單車比汽車及巴士都佔用更少的人均面積,單單在泊車位上,單車已經可以為巿區省回許多土地。

8.改善交通安全問題:在城巿的街道限制車速,鼓勵巿區用單車,道路安全自會大大提高。

單車為城巿所帶來的好處這麼多,為何香港就必須要忍受倚靠汽車及地鐵的害處,為何獨有香港不需要單車這些好處?香港可能暫時不需要變成倚重單車的城巿,但絕對應該利用單車,配合城巿交通運輸,讓各種交通發揮所長。

現在香港所有長短途乘客都擠迫在同一輛巴士及列車中,全無分流,做成乘客擠迫及交通擠塞,如果城巿中鼓勵用單車,城巿內的中短途旅程絕對可以發揮單車的威力,而中長途可以用單車運載架來結合單車於公共交通如巴士及地鐵中,把短途乘客和長途乘客分流,自然能改善交通。「善用單車的城巿」不是比「無法使用單車的城巿」更好嗎?

space required to transport 60 people

space required to transport 60 people

 

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There’s a great new post on the Bikeyface blog, copied here for your enjoyment:

I bike pretty much everywhere in the city these days. But I also have a driver’s license and 16 years of driving experience. And occasionally I still drive. Like the other day I ended up driving across town to run an errand. Now, if you live anywhere near a city, you know that the driving experience is not exactly as advertised:

Myth of the Open Road

It’s a little bit more like this:

Myth of the Open Road

Which is not a good advertisement for cars. But this is exactly what I found myself driving in.

After my errand, I decided I wanted to stay out. I was hungry and there are great restaurants downtown. And some shops too. (I know, because I discovered them all by bike.) But in a car, I realized that I couldn’tcasually go to any of them. I was trapped…

Myth of the Open Road

…and had to pass them by. It was like I was carrying the weight of the car rather than it carrying me. And I was tired. So I went straight home instead. Cars are useful, but driving in a city is kind of like trying to thread a needle while wearing a boxing glove.

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We’ve seen a copy of an internal guideline of KMB allowing folded bicycles of less than 0.1m3 in size to be brought on their buses. The requirement is to make bicycle a carry-on luggage. We wonder how useful is that guideline for people who want to bring their bicycles on buses. Here is a simple survey to see which bicycles can fit in the 0.1m3 requirement.

Please tell us how big is your bicycle (in m3) and what is the make by replying this post.

To calculate the volume of the bicycle in folded condition, just measure its length (L), height (H) and width (W) in metre and then multiply all 3 measurements. That is: length (m) x height (m) and width (m) = volume (m3)

你的折疊式單車可以上巴士嗎?

我們看過一份九巴的內部指引,指示司機可以讓乘客攜帶體積小於0.1立方米並已折疊的單車上巴士。這要求是要使單車變成一件隨身攜帶的行李。我們不知道該指引對於希望把單車帶上巴士的乘客有多大的幫助。下面是一個簡單的調查,看看哪些折疊單車可以合乎0.1立方米的要求。

請回覆這貼文並告訴我們你的單車折疊之後有多大(m3)。

計算其體積的方法如下:只需量度其長度(L)、高度(H)與闊度(W)是多少米(m),再把3個數字相乘。即是:長(m)x高(m)x闊(m)= 體積(m3

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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.

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From the NPR website comes an article about cycling infrastructure that we can dream of here in Hong Kong.

Every day, one-third of the people of Copenhagen ride their bikes to work or school. Collectively, they cycle more than 750,000 miles daily, enough to make it to the moon and back. And city officials want even more people to commute, and over longer distances.

So a network of 26 new bike routes, dubbed “the cycling superhighway,” is being built to link the surrounding suburbs to Copenhagen.

Lars Gaardhoj, an official with the Copenhagen capital region, says the routes will be straight and direct.

“It will be very fast for people who use their bike,” he says. “This is new because traditionally cycle paths have been placed where there is space for them and the cars didn’t run. So now the bike is going to challenge the car.”

The first highway, to the busy suburb of Albertslund some 10 miles outside the city, was completed in April.

To test it, I got a rental bike and went out for a ride.

No Place For Slowpokes

One of the first things you learn about these bike lanes is that you have to move in fast. This is not leisurely biking — this is serious stuff in Copenhagen.

It’s a parallel world of transportation: You’ve got the cars on the roads and the people on their bikes. There are thousands and thousands of people on their bikes here in this city.

NPR reporter Eleanor Beardsley rides in one of the new bike lanes in Copenhagen. The city is building more than two dozen lanes from the suburbs into the city. They cater to cyclists by including such things as rails and footrests at stoplights.

EnlargeCourtesy of Eleanor Beardsley for NPRNPR reporter Eleanor Beardsley rides in one of the new bike lanes in Copenhagen. The city is building more than two dozen lanes from the suburbs into the city. They cater to cyclists by including such things as rails and footrests at stoplights.

As commuters pour into Copenhaghen on the new highway, I stop biker Cona Endelgo at a red light. Endelgo says he used to drive his car to work, but biking is better.

“It gives you more exercise and motion, and it’s more free, and it’s quicker. When I pass the harbor, I wave to the cars,” he says.

Each mile of bike highway will cost about $1 million. The project is to be financed by the city of Copenhagen and 21 local governments. And in a country where both right- and left-leaning politicians regularly ride bikes to work, it has bilateral support.

Addressing The Needs Of Bikers

Several innovations are being tested, like “green wave” technology, which times traffic lights to suit bikers. If you maintain a certain pace, you can ride all the way through into the city without stopping. There are also footrests with bars to lean on at traffic lights, and a bike pump every mile in case you have a flat.

Outside the city, the pace is slower and people talk to each other as they ride. Jacob Messen, 33, is on his way to a water park with his kids. He says support for the project runs deep.

“Bicycles are a very essential element in most people’s lives in Denmark,” he says. “We have them as small infants and all the way up through the ages.”

He’s not kidding. Another rider, 83-year-old Soulva Jensen, is using the highway to visit her daughter in a neighboring town.

“The trains are too much trouble at the moment, so I thought it was easier to take the bike,” she says.

Once the highway network is completed, an estimated 15,000 additional people will switch from driving to biking. And that, say officials, will have a direct impact on the environment, public health and finances. The bike highway alone is expected to save Copenhagen’s health care system some $60 million a year.

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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.

 

 

 

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It’s often been my experience that drivers of large trucks are more professional than those in PSVs (public service vehicles – ones that carry passengers).  They are more aware of us, less aggressive and especially much more conciliatory when you talk to them after an ‘incident’.  I get the clear impression that they know they’ll be in big trouble from their employers if you escalate a complaint.

Which makes me wonder how we might work through bus companies and other organisations to influence the behaviour of the drivers they employ.  Drivers of minibuses and taxis, not to mention smaller vans, may be less constrained by employers than those of large good vehicles and companies that value their public profile. Bus companies should be able to closely manage their drivers, but don’t always seem to.

Do you agree?  Are drivers from some types of employer more considerate / less aggressive?  Could we show that certain groups of drivers who are more closely managed drive better, and hence put pressure on other organisations (eg. bus companies) to make their drivers perform better around cyclists?

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Velolatrophobia..?

August 22nd, 2012 | Posted by Nick Andrew in fun - (0 Comments)

From the great Yehuda Moon comic strip

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This is reproduced from the excellent Transportation Alternatives website

A few years ago, the New York Times published a five-sentence brief about a man who “intentionally ran over five people” with an SUV after a fight in North Bellmore, Long Island. The driver, the Times reported, “fled the scene of the accident.” The police later located the vehicle that “they believed was involved in the accident.” One of the victims was in critical condition.

Ho hum. News briefs about the previous day’s car crashes are as routine as box scores and the weather forecast. Yet, in this case, the Times’ (and, presumably, the Nassau County cops’) choice of one particular word stood out: If a man intentionally ran over five people, how could that possibly be considered an accident? If, instead of car keys, the man had picked up a gun and shot five people, would the press and police have called that an “accident” too? No. They’d have called it “attempted homicide.” Yet, for some reason when the weapon is a car, when the violence on our streets is done with a motor vehicle, it’s always just an “accident.”

So, is it any surprise that the NYPD’s “Accident” Investigation Squad so frequently declares “no criminality suspected” after a motor vehicle is used to kill a pedestrian or cyclist on New York City streets? After all, they don’t call themselves the Motor Vehicle Manslaughter Squad. They don’t think of themselves as homicide detectives, or cars as weapons, or drivers as killers. The word “accident” implies no fault. It’s what we call it when a toddler makes a small mess. “Don’t cry over spilled milk,” we say. The assumption is built into the name of the NYPD bureaucracy itself: Death by motor vehicle is an “accident” before the investigators even get to what may very well be the scene of a crime. The Accident Investigation Squad is there to clean up and keep the traffic moving.

Though it may sometimes seem otherwise, New York City drivers don’t wake up in the morning intending to harm pedestrians and cyclists. Most crashes are unintentional and “accident” is not an inaccurate word to describe them. But the fact remains: Driver negligence is the number one cause of crashes, and it’s no big surprise—or accident—when negligent driving hurts and kills people on crowded city streets. In fact, our legal system has a word for this type of unintentional killing: “Manslaughter.” Lots of work needs to be done and lots of things need to change to fix the way the NYPD deals with pedestrians and cyclists who have been injured and killed by negligent drivers. But if it’s true that small changes in language can have a big impact on public policy, then the easiest change is simply this: Stop calling car crashes “accidents.”

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