Hundreds of cyclists joined Hong Kong’s annual Ride of Silence via video link on Wednesday night (20 May), with over 20 of them congregating at the traditional Tsim Sha Tsui clocktower starting point to support a live stream run by organiser Martin Turner.
The Ride of Silence is a global event held in over 350 cities around the world to honour cyclists killed or injured on the roads. Last year, seven cyclists were killed on Hong Kong’s roads and over 170 seriously injured.
Organisers planned a live-streamed ride for 2020, encouraging cyclists to join via YouTube Live or Zoom at their own choice of route and pace – Turner says he was surprised how many people actually showed up at the clock tower. “But we kept our distance, we rode, and we remembered those killed,” he says.
Turner rang a bell seven times, once for each victim, at the clock tower, and addressed the 220 live-stream guests, many of whom were out cycling alone, before setting off north up Nathan Road along the traditional 11km Hong Kong Ride of Silence route.
Turner is critical of the Transport Department which, he says, has little data or science to back up its apathy towards urban cycling. He says the government trots out the same “pat response” to cycling demands every year without much of an idea of what’s actually going on in terms of cycling.
“They want to close their eyes to it,” he says. “The truth is, the government is not interested in supporting even the cycling that is currently done by Hong Kong people, they’re not ready to provide a reasonable and safe environment, let along expanding cycling so that more people can get around more easily, more safely, creating a less polluted environment for all of Hong Kong.”
Watch our interview with Turner on YouTube below.