In my court case about cyclists’ right to use the lane like any other road user (occupying it, in the centre, when it would be dangerous for other vehicles to overtake), the prosecution has collapsed (it will ‘offer no evidence’) even before tomorrow’s hearing starts.
While this means we ‘win’ the case, it robs us of the chance to show publicly that the Road Users’ Code is out of line with modern thinking on this issue. And we had a very solid case. But at least now if anyone else is similarly charged, there is a legal defence ready to roll. Seriously – make a mental note and tell them to drop us a line, here at firstname.lastname@example.org
As a part of the campaign, we met with the South China Morning Post and they have printed an article about the star ferry $20 bike fare a few days ago.
Star Ferry plans HK$20 bike fee Charge on Wan Chai-Tsim Sha Tsui route angers cyclists, who say it goes against ‘green’ policies
Ada Lee, Dec 12, 2011
Cyclists Martin Turner and Nick Andrew rolled their bicycles onto the lower deck of a Star ferry at Wan Chai, after paying the foot-passenger fare of HK$2.50 each. They parked them to one side and sat down on a bench.
“It’s nice to enjoy the harbour,” said Turner, a marketing consultant who commutes on his bike and takes it onto a ferry several times a week.
But that will soon change. Star Ferry plans to charge passengers HK$20 for each bike they bring on board the Wan Chai-Tsim Sha Tsui route – the only cross-harbour route that carries bicycles.
The proposed rise from nothing to HK$20 has angered cyclists, who say it goes against the company’s vision of being environmentally friendly, and the government policy of promoting “green” traffic.
The new charge is part of Star Ferry’s plans to raise fares on routes connecting Tsim Sha Tsui with Wan Chai and Central.
In less than a week, the Hong Kong Cycling Alliance, which has a core membership of 200, has gathered more than 600 signatures on a letter against the proposed fare rise. The alliance thinks ferries should carry bicycles for free, Turner said, although it would be acceptable if the bike fare was similar to that for foot passengers – as it is on routes operated by other ferry companies that allow bicycles on board.
The ferry is the only way to take a bike across the harbour from Tsim Sha Tsui to Hong Kong Island without using a motor vehicle.
The HK$20 fare would mean two people would pay HK$90, including their bikes, on a round trip across the harbour – and even more after passenger fares go up by 20 to 60 HK cents on that route.
Turner said many cyclists would opt for a taxi instead.
“But we don’t want to make enemies of the ferries. We want to be friends of the ferries. We try very hard to engage with the Star Ferry to share a view of how Hong Kong can have a lively ferry environment again.”
Bikes have been allowed on board for free during non-peak hours on the cross-harbour route since 2003. Each ferry can carry 10 bikes at most. Star Ferry said it was a trial project; it charged HK$13 for each bike on the two Hung Hom routes before they closed in April.
Since the Hung Hom routes were shut down, passengers bringing bicycles to and from Tsim Sha Tsui have increased from several per week to 46 per day on average, Star Ferry said.
In response to South China Morning Post’s inquiries, the Star Ferry said the HK$20 was not enough to cover costs, as extra staff were deployed to “man the lower-deck gangplank to ensure the safety of the cyclists”.
Turner cast a sceptical eye on the six employees on the lower deck, who were either sitting on empty benches or chatting with colleagues. Turner and Andrew were the only passengers with bikes on the ferry.
“There’s no obvious need for an extra person,” he said. “They’re just bikes. They won’t bite.”
Turner said Star Ferry should treat the situation as a chance to create a new transport network. “As bikes use the harbourfront and the ferries to cross the harbour, they are creating a network,” he said. “The ferry companies can benefit from it.
“We should see a future in Hong Kong that is not dependent on carrying people in metal boxes on wheels. There are other ways to live with our harbour.”
Just in from CAN, the Clean Air Network:
A once-in-a-lifetime cycling experience at Stonecutters Island!
Raise your hand if you are a cycling amateur! Don’t miss this rare opportunity to cycle in the urban oasis of Stonecutters Island. Sponsored by Shamshuipo District Council, CAN, for the first time, has organized a cycling day to promote the use of zero-emission vehicles. The event is free of charge and open to all participants over the age of 15. Participate by submitting an application form. Spaces are limited – first come, first served! Click here for further details.
Date: SUNDAY, 8TH JANUARY 2012
Eligibility: Age 15 or above
Application Deadline: Wednesday, 28th December 2011
Fee: Free of charge (bikes will be provided)
— content in Chinese —
This is a great opportunity to get together with like-minded people who want to make Hong Kong’s harbourfront areas public and accessible to everyone!
The “Vision for Waterfront Promenades in Victoria Harbour” public seminar is being held in Cantonese, but they are hoping to get simultaneous translations into english.
Founded by a group of young people, the Hong Kong Public Space Initiative (“HKPSI”) is a charitable organization (IRD File No. 91/11733) that aims to bring the knowledge of public space into the public sphere through promotion and education.
Believing you might be interested, we are cordially inviting your members to attend our very first public seminar titled “Vision for Waterfront Promenades in Victoria Harbour”, of which Mrs. Carrie Lam (林鄭月娥女士), Secretary for Development, is going to deliver a speech, followed by a panel discussion comprising professionals from different fields: Mrs. Winnie Kang (姜梁詠怡女士) Principal Assistant Secretary (Harbour), Development Bureau Prof. Mee Kam Ng (伍美琴教授) Professor, Department of Geog. & Resource Mgt., CUHK Prof. Patrick Lau (劉秀成教授) Legislative Councilor Ms. Christine Loh (陸恭蕙女士) Chairperson, Society for Protection of the Harbour Ir. Albert Lai (黎廣德先生) Director & Ex-Chairman, Conservancy Association Mr. Wong Ho Yin (王浩賢先生) Committee Member, Land Justice League.
This promises to be both an excellent learning opportunity and a golden chance for the public to raise out opinions and vision for the promenades.
For more information, please visit:-
The Star Ferry’s proposed $20 bike charge is wrong in so many ways: unfair, environmentally regressive, and not even good business.
If you agree, here is a pre-written letter to send to Star Ferry telling them what we think of paying seven times as much as everyone else.
Make your voice heard!: https://hkcyclingalliance.org/
A conference in December, hosted by the Hong Kong Foresight Centre, will bring together stakeholders to see how Hong Kong can develop a more environmentally sustainable and socially inclusive way of local mobility, combining the use of non-motorized means of transport such as walking, cycling and wheeling with the use of public transport and light electric vehicles, provided electric power stems from renewable energy sources.
Would you like to take part? (exact date to be announced)
The 5th Harbourfront Bike Ride was joined by hundreds of cyclists, of all kinds of cycling experience and on all kinds of bikes (and a few other human-powered wheeled conveyances!) On a fine afternoon, as well as having a good time together, the message was made loud and clear that cycling has a place on Hong Kong island.
This is the Hong Kong Cycling Alliance presentation showing a route for the Hong Kong Island Harbourfront cycleway from the September 7th 2011 Harbourfront Commission meeting, updated to incorporate the other presentation materials. It can be downloaded at one of the following locations: