Tai Po villagers have “repeatedly” removed government bollards, the government says, allowing them to use cycle tracks as access points for makeshift car parks on vacant land.
The vandalism and theft of public property came to light after Transit Jam questioned Transport Department (TD) on why many private cars were illegally using the Tai Po cycle tracks.
One Mercedes SUV driver was seen travelling at speed, half on the cycle track and half on the adjacent pedestrian pathway, in contravention of traffic laws. The driver then squeezed the car through “no entry” bollards and out onto Ting Kok Road.
“Frangible bollards had been installed at the ends of cycle tracks near Po Sam Pai Village to prevent vehicles from entering. It was observed that some vehicles bypassed the frangible bollards to enter the cycle tracks and some frangible bollards were repeatedly removed for vehicles to park on some vacant land via the cycle tracks,” said a TD spokeswoman.
TD claims it has referred “the illegal activities to the Police for follow-up action”.
But Police did not respond to questions on the alleged crimes of the villagers and, according to locals, have not taken action against the villagers driving on the cycle paths.
A member of the Hong Kong Cycling Alliance commented on Facebook that the issues was long-standing. “It’s been many years but the government has turned a blind eye,” he wrote.
“There are a number of road-front houses along that stretch of road which have parking spaces sandwiched between the property and the pavement/cycle path. The only way to access the road is to drive on the cycle path too,” he added.
The cycle path between Tai Po Industrial Estate and Tai Mei Tuk is heavily broken by vehicle entrances, roads and driveways – there are 26 “cyclist dismount” signs along that 5.8km stretch, an average of one per 220 metres. Police have been aggressively targeting cyclists who ride through these signs or who ride on footpaths or on roads where a cycle track is present. Hundreds of cyclists have been ticketed this month alone for offences such as cycling on the footpath or riding without lights at night.