Police chasing cyclists to follow the road signs

Top News | Yupina Ng 8 Aug 2016

Police have expanded a general road- safety blitz to include cyclists because of what is seen as an alarming increase in the number of riders killed.

From Wednesday, cyclists disobeying traffic lights, road markings and general traffic rules will be cited immediately for prosecution. There will not be any warnings or a grace period.

The action comes with six cyclists dead in the first six months - an increase of 50 percent from last year.

Rules that cyclists must follow - when previously they could perhaps have skirted them - include dismounting and pushing bikes in places with a "cycling restriction" sign and dismounting and using pedestrian crossings in places with a "cyclist dismount sign."

Signs on footpaths and elsewhere saying "no cyclists" or "no pedestrians, no cyclists" will mean what they say, and if there is a cycle track or cycle lane riders must use it.

Superintendent Yip Siu-ming of Traffic Branch Headquarters noted there are no fixed penalties for offenses, so fines could range from a few hundred dollars to thousands.

"It depends on the court," he said. "A first-time offender may be fined a few hundred dollars. And a court may give a heavier penalty to repeat offenders."

Under the Road Traffic Ordinance, the maximum penalty for "reckless cycling" is a fine of HK$500 for a first conviction and HK$1,000 and imprisonment for three months for a second or subsequent convictions.

Cyclists in certain parts of the New Territories, including Sha Tin, should for starters be on their correct behavior. For the police cycling patrol team of Traffic New Territories South are now moving to enforce laws on cycle tracks.

Officers were yesterday distributing leaflets near a cycling lane at the junction of Kiu Ha Road and Shui Chong Street in Sha Tin to appeal to cyclists to comply with the Road Traffic Ordinance.

Shia Tian-yu, a 69-year-old retiree who cycles five or six times a week, welcomed the operation as he said he sometimes sees cyclists not obeying road signs and putting lives at risk.

But 39-year-old Roger Tou Kin- chun, who only goes out cycling once every couple of weeks, believes the push for better behavior by people using pedal power is unlikely to last more than a week or two and then it will be back to "the usual" indifferent approach to road rules. "I don't really see many cyclists being prosecuted," he added, although "it's good" authorities are doing something.

Yip said police statistics show about 1,000 people injured in cycling accidents in the first six months this year, which was actually a decrease of 23 percent from the corresponding period last year.

Of the six fatal cases, three were related to cyclists losing control, two involved a failure to obey traffic signals and one was caused by a driver's inattention.

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