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Thursday, 22 November 2012

HK Affairs- Chai Wan Accident Afterthoughts

Latest Chai Wan Accident



Hong Kong just had an serious traffic accident  in Chai Wan, which left 3 dead and 54 injured. If not for the 2 Michelin starred The Fat Ducks chef died in this accident, international media will not picked up this news.

And that reminded me of the October trip which I encountered my share of fast driving by bus drivers.

I do remember it was the day I went to Hong Kong University to trace the footsteps of Chinese female author, Zhang Ailing. She was in Hong Kong to study during the World War II and her presence left footprints in the local literary scene. Hence, to get to the HKU campus in Po Fu Lam, bus is one of the affordable public transportation.

Hong Kong Double Decker Buses

Hong Kong double decker buses is famous for its engine power. Be it at whenever terrain, its poweress will left many tourists whom not taken double decker bus before, either feel awed or scared. I do hear about this and my trips so far have not witnessed any Initial D style driving. What do I mean by Initial D style? It refers to the Japanese manga involving Japanese adults racing illegally in their modified cars. Infernal Affairs directors, Andrew Lau and Alan Mak, directed the Hong Kong version years back.

Back to the trip. I was really amazed for the uphill trip from Central to HKU. Even though the road is a 2 lane tarmac, the driver can maneuvers the windy road with ease. The best part is that the vehicle is a 1990s Volvo OIympian Alexander 3 axles model, the regular maintenance has preserved the engine poweress. The more scary fact is the downhill route. From Po Fu Lam to Admiralty, there were at least 15 turns, some were sharp, some were gradual. My heart skipped whenever the driver executed sharp bend follow by a 10 degree descent and this happened thrice, with the last try was onto a viaduct. My position on the upper deck first row added the excitement on full view but fear prompted me to hold the safety belt tighter next!

Hong Kong seen the worst traffic accidents involving double decker buses. Some crashed at a speed of more than 140km/h, one ramped into bus stop in New Territory resulting in deaths. Is there any Laws governed bus driver's conducts? Yes, there is. But circumstances will normally lead to people run against the law. With Hong Kong being such a competitive society, plus drivers need to fulfill the Key Performance Index and meet commuters expectations, traffic accidents will be part of Hong Kong culture.

I do hope with the recent Chai Wan episode, the 3 Hong Kong bus companies will really look into the safety aspects for their operations. They can not be like Mainland Chinese companies, ignoring safety. If they do so, they are endangering Hong Kong's as a safer city as compared to other Chinese cities.