Tram Tracks 電車軌
On Hong Kong Island, you’ll often see cyclists riding in between the tram tracks, including quite a few delivery cyclists. It 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 themselves, the bumpiness of the road painted tram markings, and oil and sand debris.
Is it legal? 合法嗎？
We think so, but the Road Traffic Ordinance and Tramways Ordinance don’t explicitly tell us either way. Views of police and others vary from ‘Must’ to ‘May’ to ‘Cannot’. But we don’t know of any prosecutions of anyone under any law for riding there.
We’d like to give a firmer answer, so please share any understanding you have.
At times, there are double white lines alongside the tracks, so of course those should not be crossed illegally.
How to safely cross tram tracks 如何安全穿越電車軌
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 Light Rail tracks – and are especially important in the wet when things are extra slippery.
As for other road riding skills, the key is to plan ahead. 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.
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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