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Topic-icon What do you think about the AFCD's MTB Permit?


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5 years 10 months ago #2489

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  • In response to a recent tourists account of wading through the AFCD red tape to get a permit I think its long overdue that the permit and the process of obtaining a permit be evaluated. Is the permit necessary? Is two weeks to obtain it too long? Do you agree with legal wording on the back of the permit? Do you feel there is a need for a permit (other park users do not need them except for vehicles, I think). Should it be possible to get a permit online? Its important to note that a permit is only needed to ride the legal MTB trails with the country parks. No permit is required for all other trails such as those on Lamma Island or Ting Ping Shan. Really any gripe goes!

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    5 years 10 months ago #2491

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  • I figured I'd Google and see if any other country with public country parks required MTBers to have permits. After a lot of searching... it appears it is only Hong Kong.

    Here's the current form: www.afcd.gov.hk/english/country/cou_vis/...p_form_Rev_Mar08.pdf

    None of it is any kind of "get out clause" regarding the end-user and the AFCD regarding insurance liability. In fact, any of the bits regarding MTBers for equipment, can be changed to applier to hikers, runners, etc.

    If the AFCD doesn't require any body else to have permits, then nor should MTBers be required.

    If the bureaucracy insists that MTBers should have permits, then if a dead-tree edition is needed, then these can and should be possible to be issued at any of the AFCD trail visitor centres/management centres, right there on the spot by should some form of ID.

    Otheriwse, being the 21st century... have an online form where you register a name and ID number (HKID for HKers, Passport nos./Country ID for everyone else). AFCD would just look up online on the spot when they do spot checks.

    However, as there doesn't seem to be any solid reason why the AFCD even needs MTBers to have permits... I say it should be scrapped. If people need to be stopped, then the AFCD should be checking for inappropiate equipment. Not sure what to make of the roadies that also cycle through the concrete paved Tai Lam "mountain bike trails" (fire breaks/fire access roads for every other country...), however I'm pretty certain they don't have MTB-ing permits either.

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    5 years 10 months ago #2493

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  • Is the permit necessary?
    Unless it serves some useful purpose, no. If they want to keep track of MTB users, then perhaps the HKMBA could take over that duty unofficially. ;)

    Is two weeks to obtain it too long?
    Yes, though in reality, I've never waited more than 3-4 days for mine. I have no clue where the "2 weeks" comes from, although I suspect it's just a covering exercise.

    Do you agree with legal wording on the back of the permit?
    TBC as I don't have mine with me.

    Do you feel there is a need for a permit (other park users do not need them except for vehicles, I think).
    See answer 1.

    Should it be possible to get a permit online?
    Yes. If they are terribly concerned about this (for whatever reason) then at least this option should be restricted to overseas users (maybe only allow such applications for users with an overseas IP address?), and/or they should be allowed a "temporary online tourist permit", a bit like a tourist visa. But such a restriction seems like more bother than it's worthy - why should they discriminate against those with HKID cards?

    Agree with Stanley's point that an online form is a good idea, although not sure whether mobile coverage in the parks allows spot checks.

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    5 years 10 months ago #2495

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  • One advantage I can see for the permit system is for the afcd to see how many users there are. Creating tracks costs money, I know trail fairies can do it for free, but bureaucracies have many hurdles to go through from planning, budget allocation, blah, blah before a shovel hits the mud, and the permit system gives them an idea of whether its value for money or just a vocal minority.
    However from what I've seen it's a manual process of transcribing the form into a pc and printing out the nice little blue permit.
    This could easily be automated online, enter your details, and get a PDF of the permit that you print out and cut to size.

    We have no permits in Aus, pretty much all trails except designated walking tracks are ok to cycle in state forests and national parks. Most single track is trail fairy, but that is changing since the parks authorities realise how many of the parks users were mtb riders, ESP near the bigger cities

    You might want to show the afcd how places like new Zealand have become tourist Meccas because of the amount of mtb trails - rotorua and queens town for example.

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    5 years 10 months ago #2496

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  • Although I dont know how AFCD use the data collected from the permits, I do agree that someone in the govt must be using these data in one way or another.

    Nowadays data analysis is common in organizations to help to acheive their strategic goal. Likewise, it makes sense that when it comes to budget time, the permit data does have its impact. Board room meetings love data.

    Whether AFCD has the budget to implement an online permit application system is not as important as we, as MTBer, local or overseas should apply for an AFCD MTB permit as many as we can.

    Imagine this, one out of ten visitor to HK apply for a MTB permit, I'd beg that the AFCD big shots will probably pushing for more budget and AFCD's logo will appears along side the tourism logo, haha. Well, more budget does not necessary mean more new trail but that's another subject.

    I've have been asking new guys to apply for a FREE permit in every opportunity. I'll get my son's permit when he reaches 12 years of age. Hmm, my wife still doesn't have a permit...and my cousins...

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