Go dutch

It would be nice if it works: The South Korean government is making moves to encourage bicycling. It’s not done very much here. Whenever my students see me rolling onto campus, they look at my bike and give me a little laugh. Strange to see a professor cycling to work, I guess.

It’s not exactly seen as high class, and it’s not the safest mode of travel here. I’ve learned to navigate my way through the traffic and it’s become a fun little moving obstacle course. It’s actually more challenging to weave through people than cars. People walk on the left here (thanks to Japan) and drive on the right (thanks to the U.S.). The rule is that the bigger object has the right of way. Bicycles? That’s somewhere in between a car and a person, so there’s no clear etiquette and I’ve had a few near misses with pedestrians.

Having dedicated bike paths would definitely help quality of life here. More cyclists would change the ecosystem. South Korea’s problem is that it’s stacked with people. There’s so much humanity packed into the cities that it’s sometimes hard to move, whether you’re in a car or on foot. People walk in the streets and motorcycles drive on the sidewalks. So you never know if the new species of cyclists would survive. But it would at least add some variety to our little jungle.

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