The other day I watched agog as one cyclist weaved his skillful way along possibly the busiest pavement in the known world. Like an eel through an overpopulated fish tank.
Safe cycling on the pavement [sidewalk] is definitely tolerated here in Korea. The majority of people on bikes here do it. Indeed the main signage for cyclists is the shared path sign.
Everyone knows how dangerous the main roads are and Korea has one of the highest traffic accident rates in the world.
However, 11 million people living in such close vicinity does sometimes make cycling on the pavement like swimming through treacle. You don’t get to go fast. You also have to keep your wits about you as the pedestrians can be quite unpredictable.
And having to wait 3 or more minutes at every pedestrian crossing quickly gets annoying. (Equality with the motor traffic, I suppose.) Though at side streets cars often give way (not much choice really) to masses of pedestrians and/or folks on bikes.
But it’s definitely safe, which is the main thing, right?
The wide pavements in the newer districts south of the river happily have far more room for pedestrians and bikes to coexist. All signed as shared bike-pedestrian.
On a side note, it’s entirely beyond me why anyone drives here. The main roads are so slow and congested. The side streets so crammed with pedestrians and obstacles. The drivers are so aggressive and angry. And the tube [subway] so cheap, clean and regular. (And very spacious compared to London’s.) I can only put the appeal down to aggressive ‘car=status’ marketing by the likes of Hyundai, Kia et al.