Following is a question by the Ir Dr Hon Raymond Ho and a written reply by the Acting Secretary for the Environment, Transport and Works, Mr Stephen Lam, in the Legislative Council today (July 10):
Question: Regarding traffic safety of motorcycles inside the tubes of cross-harbour tunnels, will the Government inform this Council:
(a) of the respective numbers of traffic accidents which took place inside various tunnel tubes in the past three years, and the number of these accidents which involved motorcycles;
(b) of the differences between the provisions applicable to motorcycles and to other vehicles as laid down in the traffic control regulations for cross-harbour tunnels; and
(c) whether motorcycles are prohibited from overtaking in cross-harbour tunnels (except at the time of traffic congestion and slow traffic movement) under the existing legislation; if so, of the penalties stipulated in and other relevant details of such provisions; if not, whether it will consider making such a provision?
In the past three years, out of a gross tunnel throughput of 254 million vehicles, a total of 387 traffic accidents happened inside the tubes of the three cross-harbour road tunnels, of which 37 involved motorcycles. A breakdown of the accident statistics by tunnel is set out in the Appendix.
When passing through a cross-harbour road tunnel, motorcyclists are required to observe traffic signs and road markings as motorists of other classes of vehicles, except where a traffic sign or road marking expressly states otherwise.
All motorists including motorcyclists are required to keep in lane whilst driving through a tunnel tube and not to cross any double-white lines. However, during traffic congestion or in heavy and slow moving traffic, a motorist may overtake a vehicle if he can safely pass between the vehicle in front of him and the double-white lines. When doing so, he has to ensure that the driver in front of him knows that he is coming through. If a motorcyclist does not follow the above rules during overtaking and causes any accident, the motorcyclist will have committed a traffic offence. Tunnel staff are required to monitor closely the traffic movements inside tunnels and will take appropriate follow up action to prosecute those who have committed traffic offences.
Overall, we consider the present traffic regulations and traffic monitoring system inside cross-harbour tunnels to be adequate. To enhance public awareness of the importance of safe driving inside tunnel tubes, we will step up our education and publicity programmes and work with the transport trade and motor associations to promote the message amongst their members. The Tunnel Safety Week lasting from June 28 to July 5, 2002 involving tunnel, public transport operators and the media is an example. We will monitor the situation closely and introduce further legislative measures to enhance safety inside tunnel tubes where necessary.
End/Wednesday, July 10, 2002