A bicycle revolution in SeoulSeoul will be transformed into a new city where people can commute to work or school by bicycle on dedicated lanes that vertically and horizontally connect the center of Seoul to the suburbs.
This is not an idle dream but a plan unveiled by the Seoul city government a few days ago for a bicycle network beltline aimed at revolutionizing transport in the capital.
The plan is to set up 88 kilometers (54.7 miles) of bicycle paths by 2014, and we fully endorse it.
This bicycle network will connect to the 207-kilometer-long nationwide network of bicycle paths announced last October.
People will be able to ride to various places in Seoul, such as the downtown area and outskirts, via paths along the Han River and up Mount Namsan, positioning bicycles at the center of urban civil life.
We welcome Seoul’s bid to expand the scope of bicycle paths and look forward to the surge in bicycle use, and we hope that the Seoul city government plans will be implemented without delay.
The city’s effort to build more bicycle lanes is truly meaningful as it will help bicycles serve as a serious means of transportation.
If bicycles become a significant means of transportation beyond being a leisure activity, it will make a huge contribution to reducing congestion on the roads and mitigating environmental pollution.
The completion of the bicycle beltway will increase the rate of bicycle use from 1.2 percent to 6 percent, potentially reducing energy costs by 150 billion won ($119.8 million) per year.
In the near future, Seoul will no longer be a city of gridlocked roads since bicycles will take a 5 to 10 percent share of the public transportation system.
What we are facing is perhaps a “bicycle revolution” that will be completed in step with our attempts to create an environment where bicycle riding in metropolitan areas is comfortable and safe.
This will only be possible with the establishment of bicycle lanes.
There is a need to amend the public transportation system by prioritizing bicycle use. What’s important is to set up traffic lights for bicycle lanes. We should also bear in mind that 47 percent of bike deaths occur at crossroads.
The number of publicly owned bicycles should also be increased and we need to make plans to create all-weather bicycle depositories in other areas of the city, such as bicycle parking buildings, at Yeongdeungpo Office Station and Sindorim Station.
We expect Seoul to become a healthy and environment-friendly city thanks to a successful bicycle revolution.