Adrian Lord - Seoul Bicycle Forum
Adrian Lord was one of the invited international guest speakers at the Seoul Bicycle Forum, alongside speakers from the European Cyclists Federation, the USA, Canada and Taiwan as well as academics and government officials from South Korea.
Adrian presented a talk on the evolution of cycling infrastructure and policy in London over the last 25 years, from the route maps produced by London Cycling Campaign in the 1980s, the development of the London Cycle Network and the most recent 'game changing' impacts of the London Cycle Hire scheme and the construction of fully segregated Cycle Superhighways. There are surprisingly many parallels with Seoul, which has a historic city core and irregular road patterns that have evolved over time rather than the 'grid' systems associated with many modern cities. Seoul is creating cycle lanes and bus lanes on many streets, and has popular riverside cycle tracks alongside the Han River.
Adrian also participated in a panel discussion focussing on the changing nature of cycle hire with the emergence of 'dockless' hire bikes in several cities around the world over the past year. These systems have only been on place for months in most cities, and all are facing the same challenges about regulation, insurance and how to prevent the parked bicycles becoming an obstruction in public areas. After the conference, the speakers were taken to a bicycle festival and for a guided ride to historic sites on the city's hire bikes. The event was attended by 300 delegates from around the country.
The city of Seoul has a strong commitment to environmental policies and during the visit delegates were taken to look at the Seoul Jo, a pedestrian street in the sky that was created when a concrete flyover became structurally unsafe for traffic, and the Cheonggycheon Stream, a natural watercourse that has been restored by the removal of a former dual-carriageway road to create a beautiful and peaceful riverside environment in the heart of the city centre.
The main conclusion of the conference was that while each country is different, the challenges of creating safe and attractive space for cycling are the same, and rely on political will, technical expertise and consistent funding.
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