Sharing the road? Tensions between drivers and cyclists in Hong Kong

Document Type

Conference Proceeding

Publication Date



Tensions, Hong Kong road, cyclist


Embracing the culture of cycling is an ongoing issue in many countries, Hong Kong is no exception. This could be due to the different attitude towards the mind of Sharing the Road. Copenhagen, one of the most cycling friendly cities. It has over 400 km of bikeways with “Super bikeways” built connecting to neighbouring municipalities on trips in the average of 10 km ranges. In addition to the infrastructure, the attitude of road users has also contributed greatly to this success. In 2012, Copenhagen government’s report advocated that most of their road users prefer cycle tracks along existing roads which greatly advanced their placemaking projects. In contrast, Hong Kong is seriously lagging in this respect. The battle between motorcar drivers and cyclists is showing in many cities every day. Despite the government has been constructing a cycle track system, those tracks are segregated from existing roads due to the negative responses from the motorcar drivers. The battle between drivers and cyclists is showing in many cities every day There is a deeply rooted negative impression of cycling on the road, for example: o A lack of regard for other road users; o A failure to adhere to basic road safety rules; o Poor cycling behaviour; o Not being able to keep up with other traffic; and o Not showing courtesy to other, etc. Some responses from previous studies have shown that many motorcar drivers believed that “bikes do not belong to the road”, regardless they are for commuting, sporting, leisure, or doing business. This lag in a positive attitude is the biggest roadblock to the development of a bike-friendly city, and it is worthwhile to understand what have caused this phenomenon. We are proposing to present a case study that illustrate the tensions, dilemmas, and challenges faced by different road users in Hong Kong. The case study will adopt an established qualitative framework named cognitive map, which is widely used as an instrument in psychology to reveal people’s subconscious knowledge and perception of a specific attitude or behaviour. The transformation of road users perception in Hong Kong, similar with many developed Asian cities toward cyclists is a slow process which requires a substantial effort from both sides, and initiating a discussion is the first step. We hope Hong Kong, together with all other Asian countries, will climb up The Copenhagenize Index in the near future.

Source Publication

Conference Presentation at World Bicycle Forum 2016, Chile

This document is currently not available here.