When we were in Seoul, South Korea on a personal trip, I’ve expressed my admiration to the Koreans’ distinct disciplined trait — which I don’t see most often. I need it so badly, that I wanted to take some with me back home.
As we walked past Gyeongbokgung Palace Office, I saw these parked tour buses along Sumcheong-ro Street. I noticed that there was a less than 5-ft. wide of a road gap in between the buses and the sidewalk. The gap is a bike lane with fading red paint with two yellow stripes on both sides and a white stripe atop the red paint. I knew from the color that this functioned as such until we reached a crosswalk to Bukchon Hanok Village.
The bike lane is free from any obstructions — even the sidewalks — from its point of entry to exit. South Korean motorists shared the road with cyclists without any qualms and it shows how they support their government’s effort of road sharing and safety.
As global warming intensifies, increasing numbers of South Koreans prefer a bike as an alternative mode of transportation aside from walking. With that, the government allocated lanes solely for bike purposes across the city, joining Copenhagen, to be a biking heaven in Asia.
While back home, statistics of road accidents involving cyclists and vehicles are soaring high. Worst is, most of the cyclists ended up dead on the spot by hit-and-run incidents due of lack of discipline and respect for fellow road users and pedestrians. Several local groups, like We Want Bike Lanes in RP Movement, have urged Filipinos to support their on-going campaign for more and safer bike lanes. And as a road bike owner myself, this is pretty alarming, and it’s high time for the Philippines to shape up when it comes to implementing road sharing and road safety measures.
In an article written by Danielle Reid, Become A World Class Designer By Making The Globe Your Office, she said: “Travel helps us unravel that complexity by giving a fresh perspective to ideas, as well as helping us experience issues that affect the world on a global scale — or even those tiny details which we might miss out on while sitting in a regular office.”
And it holds true, discipline is a global issue; just one of the things travel teaches and make one a better person. But to some, it’s easier said than done.
[UPDATE: Days after this post was published, another horrific incident of road rage was captured on a CCTV. The driver of the vehicle shot the cyclist point blank and left dead by the road. You can read the story here and watch the full video here.]