Today, hundreds of people will cycle slowly and quietly to mourn those killed and remember those injured last year while riding bicycles on the roads of Hong Kong. The Ride of Silence is held at hundreds of locations around the world, every year on the third Wednesday in May. Organiser Hong Kong Cycling Alliance called for much wider recognition that cyclists are legitimate road users and for action by authorities to promote a safer road environment, especially safer driving around cyclists.
Legislator Dennis Kwok (郭榮鏗) will be among the participants.
Deaths and injuries
In 2016, around 2,000 people were injured while cycling in Hong Kong, of whom 14 died.
This is the twelfth year that Hong Kong cyclists have held the Ride of Silence. In that period, more than 100 Hong Kong people have been killed while cycling, most of them hit by drivers of motor vehicles. More than 20,000 people have been injured.
Cycling enhances life, and should not cost it
Last November, three experienced road cyclists were riding along Shing Fung Road from Kai Tak cruise terminal, when suddenly coming towards them at high speed on the wrong side of the road was a private car which then crashed into the three of them, leaving one university student, Leung Wing-hon, dead and the others injured.
Over the year, across Hong Kong, cyclists were hit by inattentive, uninformed or aggressive drivers of cars, trucks and minibuses. “Few of these are true ‘accidents’,” said Martin Turner, HKCAll chairman, “in most cases, they result from a conscious action by the other driver, who either doesn’t understand or ignores the risk they are creating.”
The Government approach that it “does not encourage” people to cycle on the roads in the urban areas, and offering little support for practical cycling anywhere, is an evasion of its responsibility”, said Turner.
Countries such as the UK have acted on research findings that show that other road users’ attitudes and behaviour are key factors for safe cycling, and have prioritized them in public education accordingly. However, the Hong Kong authorities (the Transport Department, the Road Safety Council) continue to place the burden of safety responsibility very largely on cyclists – providing superficial advice and emphasising restrictions rather than possibilities.
This kind of ignorance and prejudice actually increases the number of bicycle casualties. Only when the Hong Kong authorities can match the levels of attention and support widely given to cyclists around the world can cycling safety be improved.
2017 Ride of Silence
This is the twelfth annual Ride of Silence in Hong Kong. Last year, nearly 850 local bike users – commuters, sports enthusiasts, leisure riders – silently processed through Kowloon to mourn those killed and support those injured while cycling. The Ride of Silence originated in the United States, and has been held annually, now in more than 400 cities around the world, since its inception in 2003. This year, 33 cities in mainland China and Taiwan will participate.
About Hong Kong Cycling Alliance
The ride is coordinated by the Hong Kong Cycling Alliance, which works to encourage an improved environment for cycling in Hong Kong and to promote a wider role for cycling – for commuting and transport, recreation, tourism, health and fitness, and fun. We develop practical cycling solutions, engage with authorities, provide technical expertise to planners and others, enhance public appreciation of cycling, support the take-up of cycling by individuals and organisations, and share news and information with Hong Kong’s thriving cycling community.