Living Islands Movement (LIM) registers with regret and deep concern the increasing incidence of road traffic accidents on the South Lantau Road (SLR) involving loss of life. In particular, we offer our deepest sympathies and condolences to the family of Gavin Spier, tragically killed on the SLR on Saturday 1st June 2013. We were also horrified and saddened by the incident in which 8 cattle were killed a few days later.
We believe these and other accidents highlight the urgent need to improve road safety on South Lantau. That issue should be the sole focus of government action. Removing cattle from South Lantau, as suggested by some, is not a solution to this problem. In fact it would be a backward step sending a wrong signal that any perceived obstacles to speeding traffic will be removed, thus increasing the risks to all road users.
We want to see dangerous driving eradicated from South Lantau, not the cattle. The majority of residents and especially visitors want to continue to enjoy the presence of cattle and buffaloes here.
In addition to the rising number of reported accidents, LIM is very aware that many local residents and visitors now feel insecure when using the SLR and the streets of Mui Wo, whether as motorists, cyclists, hikers or pedestrians. Speeding, aggressive driving, dangerous overtaking manoeuvres, undisciplined cycling (including use of illegal electric cycles), widespread parking on pavements and illegal driving on EVA roads are among the principal concerns.
This heightened sense of insecurity is due to the significantly increased volumes of traffic in recent years, arising from the large number of new construction projects; higher numbers of tourists visiting South Lantau in various categories; higher demand for bus services especially at weekends; and, most of all, the apparent growth in the number of Lantau Closed Road Permits being issued to new residents, who continue to arrive at a brisk pace.
There is also reportedly a rising incidence of vehicles illegally entering the South Lantau area without a Lantau Closed Road Permit, via the New Tung Chung Road.
Moreover, the environment of “parking anarchy” that now prevails in Mui Wo particularly leads to a general sense that laws can be ignored and consideration for other road users can be abandoned. This particular phenomenon is due to the totally inadequate number of parking places in the area when compared with the much larger number of Lantau Closed Road Permits now in circulation.
South Lantau is a uniquely rural community, treasured for its recreation and natural lifestyle opportunities, but one which is facing increasing development pressure, bringing consequential traffic and road safety issues that threaten our tranquil lifestyle.
LIM firmly believes that a review of road safety, traffic regulations and policing on South Lantau is long overdue, taking into account the increased road usage and the needs of ALL road users, whether commercial, residential or recreational; vehicular, cyclist or pedestrian.
The South Lantau Road should be quite adequate for current volumes of traffic if appropriately regulated, taking into account these special conditions.
Based on the long experience of many LIM members of road usage in South Lantau, we propose implementation of the following measures, which would go a long way towards rectifying the current unsafe situation:
Highways/Transport Department to upgrade regulations and enhance improve road signage:
Additional resources for Police on South Lantau:
Other Transport Issues:
CONCLUSION: LIM WELCOMES THE COMMITMENT OF GOVERNMENT DEPARTMENTS TO IMPROVE ROAD SAFETY AND ENHANCE THE QUALITY OF LIFE ON SOUTH LANTAU. WE LOOK FORWARD TO PARTICIPATING IN FURTHER MEETINGS TO EXAMINE AND IMPLEMENT THESE PROPOSALS IN DETAIL .
Living Islands Movement
15th June 2013