Today on 21st May, more than a thousand Hong Kong cyclists will ride quietly together in memory of others killed and injured on our roads. The annual Ride of Silence is also a gentle reminder that people who ride bikes are legitimate road users who deserve respect and consideration.
Deaths and injuries
In 2013, Hong Kong recorded 2,616 cyclist injuries, and another 8 deaths.
While the popularity of cycling in Hong Kong continues to increase, a strong representation from the cycling community – Hong Kong Cycling Alliance (HKCA) finds it disappointing that official attention to cycling safety remains sadly out of touch with international practice and Hong Kong’s own needs.
Unlike other countries which have been encouraging the sport, Hong Kong authorities (Transport Dept, Road Safety Council) continue to place the burden of responsibility for safety on those riding bikes – offering banal advice and emphasizing restrictions.
Meanwhile, according to HKCA, the Hong Kong police force maintains its regular supposed ‘cycling safety’ effort, which has now run without apparent reconsideration for over a decade. Several times a year, over a period of 1-2 weeks, Operation Goldensun targets cyclists for warnings and prosecutions for various infractions, mostly technical, such as riding on the pavement or on the road next to a cycling track – matters which are often not even an offence in other jurisdictions.
The claim of a cycling safety focus in these crackdowns is spurious. The main serious danger when cycling comes from ignorance, negligence and bullying from motorists, among whom hostile rejection of the right of cyclists to share the road is much too common. However, motorist offences against cyclists are no more targeted by the police than by TD/RSC campaigns, and so the true danger on our roads remains.
About the event – Ride of Silence 2014
This is the ninth annual Ride of Silence in Hong Kong. Last year, more than 1,300 local cyclists of all kinds – commuters, sports enthusiasts and local and leisure riders – rode together in quiet remembrance of those no longer pedaling. The global Ride of Silence, which began in 2003 in the United States, now comprises more than 300 such events around the world.
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.