The Government has increased the number of country park trails open to mountain bikers following an outcry from frustrated riders.
The two extra trails – one at Chi Ma Wan in the Lantau South Country Park and another in the Shek O Country Park – will give riders a choice of four routes.
The move followed warnings made by the Hong Kong Mountain Bike Association that a wave of individual riders would break laws to ride on country parks trails unless their choice of routes was expanded.
Bikers say the two existing routes, along a concrete water catchment in south Lantau and a remote track in the Sai Kung West Country Park, are unsuitable and remote.
Hong Kong Mountain Bike Association chairman Richard Barton-Smith welcomed the new routes, but said they were only a beginning.
‘It is a very good start. We hope it leads to development of a more comprehensive network of trails across the territory,’ Mr Barton-Smith said.
The association had urged the Agriculture and Fisheries Department to open two tracks on Lantau – one around Chi Ma Wan and another near the Big Buddha.
The department agreed to open the Chi Ma Wan trail and a Shek O route, but said the trail from the Big Buddha was unsafe for cyclists.
‘It is not suitable. It is very steep – we have considered it very carefully,’ said assistant director Wong Fook-yee.
Mountain bikers wanting to use the country park trails can apply for a free one-year riding permit from the department.
The scheme would be placed under continuous review to ensure bikers and hikers did not clash and the paths were not eroded, Mr Wong said.