Seoul turns to bicycles to combat global warming
SEOUL (AFP) — The Seoul city government has announced plans to build 207 kilometres (129 miles) of cycle paths over the next four years extending to all corners of the South Korean capital, according to officials.
The 120-billion-won (88-million-dollar) plan is based on a “road diet” programme, under which the number of lanes for passenger vehicles in major roads will be cut to create new cycle paths.
“We will make sure that bicycles will compete with vehicles for commuting in Seoul,” said [Seoul City Mayor] Oh Se-hoon, who rides his bicycle to work every day.
Only 1.6 percent of all commuters use bicycles in Seoul, partly due to a lack of dedicated paths. The city government wants to increase this to 4.4 percent in 2012, 7.6 percent in 2016, and 10 percent in 2020.
The city will also construct bicycle parking at 16 subway stations — complete with shower rooms and lockers for cyclists before they transit to the subway.
Well, I’ve brought my little Brompton folding bike with me – because “according to Seoul Metro rules, only foldable bicycles should be taken onto the underground trains” – and I plan to see how these plans measure up into reality.
UPDATE: Full-sized bikes are now allowed on the subway too, though not at peak times. Special bicycle carriages are used at weekends.