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Should the Bicycle Friendly Policy Be Implemented in Hong Kong?

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Topic: Should the bicycle friendly policy be implemented in Hong Kong?

My stance: The policy should not be implemented.

I and II: Introduction

 A: Gobee Bike, one of the most well-known bike sharing companies in Hong Kong, went bust in July this year.

(Background): The bicycle friendly policy helps some people feel more comfortable about traveling by bicycle with other traffic. In other words, the policy makes bicycle riding not only remaining as a marginal part of urban life. On the other hand, bike-sharing companies allow the public to rent bicycles by mobile phone apps, without picking up and returning them at designated places.

 B: Bike sharing companies suffer from unaffordable maintenance cost thus financial straits.

 C:  The bicycle friendly policy should not be given a green light due to the financial difficults faced by bike sharing companies, the aggravation of road safety issues if bicycles and other traffic were to coexist and the uneven distribution of cycling facilities in Hong Kong.

III:  First main Argument

A:  It is difficult for the bike sharing companies to operate due to the increased theft and vandalism.

B:  The lack of supervision of bike usages such as the failure to track the location of cyclers render the poorly educated users to opt for indiscriminate parking and even dumping of bicycles for their own convenience as they do not have to abandon them at designated places.

C:  There were five cases of Gobee bikes submerged in tributaries of Sha Tin in April 2017.  Worse still, the flawed system of Gobee Bike had made it unable to track the perpetrators as it only kept a record of the registered users.

D: “We have spent the money, mostly on buying new bicycles,” said CEO of Gobee Bike, Raphael Cohen. Eventually, these companies will be unable to bear the high maintenance cost and are forced to shut down, as manifested by the demise of Gobee Bike in July this year. To make it worse, A Bobee Bike costs around HK$500, and Gobee charges HK$10 per hour. The profits reaped palpably were unable to cover its cost.

E:  With the recession of bike sharing companies, the public motivation in using bikes as transport is lowered, narrowing the bike sharing market.

IV: Second main argument

A:  Hong Kong is suffering from severe traffic congestion, making road safety an alerting issue. There is inadequate space for bicycles to coexist with other traffic on busy roads.

B: Hong Kong has a high traffic flow and speed and the drivers usually own little knowledge in how to co-exist with other cyclers on roads. Besides, the roads in Hong Kong are too narrow for building cycling tracks and carrying out traffic calming measures, such as retrofitting speed reducing bollards and providing road markings.

C:  In fact, according to the Transport Department, there has been a rising trend of cycling accidents in recent years as the activity gains popularity.  The numbers of cycling accidents and cyclist casualties have increased from 1,793 and 1581 respectively in 2009 to 2,348 and 2,194 in 2011.

D:  It goes without saying that the policy should not be implemented when personal safety is harmed.

E:  It is exactly on account of the densely populated urban areas in Hong Kong that brings us to the next argument----- the uneven distribution of cycling facilities between the urban areas and the rural ones.

V:  Third main argument        

A: The current bicycle friendly facilities are very unevenly distributed between Hong Kong Island, Kowloon and the New Territories.

B: They can only be built along the New Territories as its area is much more spacious and the population is relatively more sparsely populated

C: There are fewer than 400 public bicycle parking spaces in Kowloon and on Hong Kong Island. Yuen Long, on the other hand, has more than 14,000 designated spaces. According to a survey conducted by the transport department, there are fewer than 3 daily cycle trips per 1000 residents on both Hong Kong Island and Kowloon, whereas The New Territories has around 25, which is 8 times more than that of HK Island and Kowloon.



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