A new cycling concern group flexed some muscle at Happy Valley Racecourse today, demonstrating against outdated cycle parking rules and regulations at one of the city’s largest pleasure grounds.
A dozen cyclists on road bikes, mountain bikes and folding bikes showed up to demonstrate that not only is there appetite for bicycle parking at the complex but that also cyclists are not discouraged by lack of cycle paths in the area, as the government had earlier claimed.
“The government’s excuses are the same old tired whitewash used to try to suppress cycling within metro areas,” said a spokesman for the Happy Valley Bike Initiative Group (HVBIG). “People love to cycle on Hong Kong Island, even without bike lanes, and this healthy mode of transport should be encouraged, particularly by a sporting venue.”
The government’s Leisure and Cultural Services Department (LCSD), which manages public sports facilities inside the venue, bore the brunt of the cyclists’ anger, but the group said the Hong Kong Jockey Club was also a target. “This is one of the richest, most privileged institutions in Hong Kong, the only institution in Hong Kong with a gambling licence, with members from movie stars to politicians: yet the club has such a backward view of sustainable transport. Cars are allowed into and around the complex, yet bikes are banned – it doesn’t make any sense,” the spokesman said.
Earlier this week LCSD claimed no bicycles could be carried within the venue for various reasons, including legal reasons, health and safety reasons, and the fact that there are no cycle paths in the neighbourhood. It also said cars were allowed because cars would “comply with our terms and conditions stated for vehicle entry”. The Hong Kong Cycling Alliance 香港單車同盟 called its comments “disrespectful to cyclists”.
Neither LCSD or the Hong Kong Jockey Club could be reached for comment.