[Letters] Everyone has a role in promoting biking

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[Letters] Everyone has a role in promoting biking

I agree with the the editorial “Make cycling safe,” in emphasizing that the central government should take responsibility for providing safe bike routes, safety education and insurance programs. I want to offer some additional solutions.

To make it work, bicycle commuting should attract people. The problem is Koreans don’t consider bicycling as transportation; they think of it as a sport or a hobby. When the city is equipped with a safe and convenient infrastructure, people will gradually start riding bicycles. But we need more to catch their attention and spread eco-friendly bike commuting. The media should conduct primetime eye-catching campaigns. Constant advertising would familiarize the people with the merits of bike commuting. Other sectors should also take action: department stores could give discounts for bike riders; theaters could give free tickets, providing bike riders with practical profits - just like supermarkets giving 50-won discounts to those who bring their own shopping bags.

In many parts of the world, governments encourage bike commuting with infrastructure and development programs. Paris, Amsterdam and the states of Washington and Oregon continue to make bike-friendly improvements. In France, 87 percent of citizens agree with spending tax money to enlarge bike routes, whereas 72 percent of Koreans think it is a waste of money. This indicates that Koreans are not ready for bike commuting yet. The reason might be the lack of adequate infrastructure, but what is more significant is our attitude. We should be open to bike commuting and have more concern for the environment.

Kim Hye-jin, high school teacher
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