× Biking Activism 協進討論

Discovery Bay has become a BICYCLE PRISON since the extension of Lantau North Country Park

5 years 2 weeks ago #3451 by Gogo Yung
This morning I found the 'ALL BICYCLE PROHIBITED' sign (which has been removed for a while, don't know by who) was re-installed at the start of the trail.

I expect another enforcement action is in the way very soon. So bikers (whether living DB or Not), please be alert for wardens if you go there to ride.

'People change and things are changing' - but not to AFCD !

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5 years 2 weeks ago #3450 by Gogo Yung
Brandon,

Thanks for your kind reminder ! I forgot names of individuals should not be mentioned !

If you see the 'threatening' letter (it's in Chinese) from AFCD and the way those officials (not the wardens we met on the trail that day) had handled this, I think everybody would understand why we are so indignant !

Yet, I've every reason (and concrete evidence) to believe AFCD has abused the regulations to act high-handedly against cycling in country parks.

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5 years 2 weeks ago - 5 years 2 weeks ago #3449 by brandon
Oh and also, 'name and shame' hasn't really taken us anywhere ... people change, and these struggles shouldn't be personal assaults, especially when peoples' jobs are on the line. [that, and your post may be considered defamation - please consider amending it]. Cheers.

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5 years 2 weeks ago - 5 years 2 weeks ago #3448 by brandon
Gogo,

Rest assured things are changing, but positive pressure needs to be consistently applied ... the person responsible for the park in which Chi Ma Wan trails are located, for example, was out building a new mountain bike trail near Tin Fu Tsai last weekend. And conducting a survey of bikers and hikers about new and existing trails. They do listen, but are slow to act.

I wouldn't make any assumptions about policies towards bikes generally. There are internal procedures that civil servants must follow, or they will be considered to be neglecting their duties.

Enforcement in particular is not an area where personal initiative towards the 'greater good' is encouraged among lower-level staff, as it could be widely interpreted. What seems obvious to you is completely foreign to the rangers in particular, who are just 'doing their job'. Although the recent audit commission's report did take that division to task ...

Anyways, why don't we meet up and talk about this sometime. We've had great success on this side of the harbour, and it would be good to compare notes and find the way forward.

Cheers,

Brandon
9162-1091
[feel free to Whatsapp]

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5 years 2 weeks ago - 5 years 2 weeks ago #3447 by Gogo Yung
Our dispute with AFCD on the Lo Fu Tau Trail is Not just the opening of one more trail to the sport. It is about our rights of way for cycling on trails which we have riding for decades and this concerns the whole of DB's easements and rights of way on land routes to the rest of Lantau.

The good thing about this is that it has led us to study and, hence know more about, the existing legislations which AFCD uses to 'regulate' cycling in country parks :

- the regulation which gave AFCD power to 'control' cycling is regulation 4 - Prohibition on Bringing Vehicles into Country Parks and Special Areas (sub-regulation 4.1 & 4.2) of the Country Parks and Special Areas Regulations, Chapter 208A Laws of HK. This is actually for the control of the use of Vehicles in country parks and is Not particularly against bicycles. In fact, sub-regulation 4.2(b) of this gives exemption to 'any person riding a BICYCLE within a country park or special area if he is ORDINARILY RESIDENT WITHIN THE PARK'.

Notice that :
1) exemption is given ONLY to Bicycle but not other types of Vehicles. Why ? because bicycle (or cycling) is Not contradictory to the original concepts for the setting up of country parks, namely that of Conservation and Recreation,
2) this sub-regulation had used 'WITHIN the park' instead of 'IN the park'. 'Within' is much broader than 'In' to include all those 'in the confines of' or 'in a compass of' instead of directly the 'inside' of the park.

Furthermore, the Ordinance - Country Parks Ordinance, Chapter 208 Laws of HK - on which the Country Parks and Special Areas Regulations were made stated very clearly (in section 26(2)) that : Regulations made under this section shall NOT derogate from or adversely affect any rights attached to any land within the park or special are.

On the Lo Fu Tau trail or any other trails within the Lantau North (extension) country park, DB residents have been riding for decades before the designation of the park. We have 'Rights' (rights of way, either from long uses or as deeded easements in DB's master Deed of mutual covenants) attached to the 'land'' of these trails and hence, the captioned regulation 4 is NOT applicable to us, whether or not we are 'ordinarily residents Within the park'.

I think it is important that in all our negotiations/struggles with AFCD for the opening of trails and the general opening of all country parks to cycling , we should have a clear and thorough understanding of the relevant Regulations/Ordinance :

1) that the regulation is Not particular against cycling (exemption was given to any one riding a bicycle if he is ordinarily resident within the park);
2) cycling is Not contradictory to the original concepts (namely conservation and recreation) for the setting up of country parks.
3) we must keep reminding AFCD the original principles of the relevant regulations and everyone else that Cycling in Country Parks is Not contradictory to the original concepts of country parks. It is Not something 'dangerous', 'damaging to the environment' and 'improper' that must be prohibit or heavily regulated.

We should aim at the general opening of all country parks to bicycles (mountain bikes or otherwise) where only careless cycling and reckless cycling are prohibited and penalized (similar to careless/recklessly cycling on the roads) and there should be some purposefully built trails for the more aggressive types of Mountain biking (such as downhill racing) where mountain bikes have use priorities.
:)
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5 years 2 weeks ago #3446 by Pk101
Hi Gogo,

Thanks for the update and good work on fighting the enforcement action. It wont be the last time we hear something being said about the park management and biking on Lantau.

Its good to see you are attacking the issue methodically and hope you will continue pressing AFCD to open trails in the area. As you might already know, Tai Mo Shan has become a success story for trailbuilding and volunteer days. We hope to complete a new trail by this time next year, a trail not so disimilar to Lo Fu Tau.

I believe the possibility of new trails (maybe even around DB) are currently being discussed by CEDD and AFCD. Keep up the pressure and it might not be too long before a breakthrough.

Keep in touch and good luck!!!

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5 years 2 weeks ago - 5 years 2 weeks ago #3445 by Gogo Yung


Since the designation of the Lantau North (extension) country park in July 2008, Discovery Bay - perhaps the area in HK that has the greatest number of active cyclists - has become a Bicycle Prison.

Take a look at the attached photo, you'll find that DB is entirely surrounded by country park (the green area). As a rule-of-the-thumb, AFCD had banned cycling on all trails within the area. The 1st 'All Bicycle are Prohibited' (All Bicycle not All BicycleS) sign was set up at the highest point in the region - Lo Fu Tau (or Tiger's head as is often called by locals) in mid 2011. The DB tunnel - DB's official road link to the rest of HK, is not built for bicycles and cycling there is strictly forbidden, if not too dangerous. Nor are bicycles allowed on the shuttle buses (either to Tung Chung or Sunny bay) since they are always 'filled to overflowing' because of inadequate services. DB thus became a Bicycle Prison.

I wrote to AFCD, explaining the situation to them and appeal to them to formally designate the Lo Fu Tau Trail as a mountain bike trail, but of course, to no avail. I then argued with AFCD's officials responsible for managing that part of the island that DB residents should be considered 'ordinarily residents within the park' and thus be allowed to ride all these trails.

Finally, we met with AFCD's 1st enforcement action in Feb, this year. We put up the same argument but our personal particulars were still collected and were told to wait for 6 months. If no summons was served, we could assume our rights of way for cycling in the area.

No summons was served, but we received a 'threatening' letter from AFCD warning us not to cycle in the region though they had decided not to take any further action against us in this incident.

We then filed a formal complaint with the Office of Ombudsman HK of maladministration on AFCD. AFCD has clearly encroached our easements to our homes in DB. The case is still under investigation and our war with AFCD for a way to cycle out/in of DB continues ....

:angry:
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