The proposed cycling tracks through Sai Kung are “canned and dead”, according to Guy Shirra, Operations Officer at Friends of Sai Kung.
The main reason given by Paul Chu of the Civil Engineering and Development Department is the perceived need to destroy 1600 trees. “They’re inflexible when it comes to design of cycling tracks,” Guy said. With imaginative solutions almost no trees would need to be removed.
“This is despite the fact the Highways Department are going ahead with dualling Hiram’s Highway between Nam Pin Wai and Pak Wai, which will mean destroying a similar number of trees.” (Guy said FSK is lobbying against this.)
Mr Chu said alternative routes for cycling tracks had been looked at but rejected because of harm to mangrove swamps and wetlands. Despite the cancellation of plans for such tracks in Sai Kung, a network for cyclists is being developed throughout the New Territories in phases.
Ken Lipofski, a keen cyclist, said, “We’re moving to Spain. It is ridiculous that Sai Sha Road can’t have cycling tracks. The signs banning bike riding on the road on weekends and public holidays make us mad.” Ken said when you drive along Sai Sha Road you can see the footpath is very good and would need to be widened by only about two feet to accommodate a dual-lane path for pedestrians and cyclists.
Friends of Sai Kung have been campaigning for cycling tracks in Sai Kung for six years, Guy said. Many bikers have been injured in that time.
A recent UK Government survey showed that cycling is the most dangerous form of transport after motorcycling. Calculating deaths per billion hours, the Government said motorcycles were involved in 4840 fatal crashes and bikes in 550. No other form of transport– air, sea, bus, car, train — came anywhere near these high death rates.
“It will take tragedy like the Ho Chung bus disaster to get our Government to act,” one cyclist said.