Thursday, October 12, 2006

Bikes and buses

I started this post a few days ago and am finishing it today. The story is about my trip to work that day.

I'm not the idealistic young man I thought I was. Actually, I knew I wasn't that young anymore, the loss of idealism surprised me.

To get to work, I take two buses, a city bus from Sokcho to Yangyang and the university bus to the Gangneung campus. The city bus (route number 9, if you care), while pulling into a recessed stop on the side of the road, squeezed a cyclist and knocked him over.

Readers of this blog know that I am concerned with cyclist's rights and have commented on bike-unfriendly driving here. They may also know I am somewhat trained in first aid and that I am concerned about the lack of first aid knowledge of most Koreans and the strange actions of Korean ambulance staff here.

The young Kwandongbrian would have jumped out of the bus to check on the cyclist and possibly to harrangue thebusdriver.

The Kwandongbrian of today didn't want to give up his seat.

Eventually, like a frightened rabbit timidly leaving its hole, I stepped across to the window. A woman was pushing back to return to her seat so I blocked her path and scuttled back to MY seat. Later, I made it to the window and saw the cyclist with his shoe off, rubbing his foot. The bike looked fine, although a tire could easily have been warped enough to prevent use but not enough to be seen.

I returned to my seat and began to think, "Why doesn't the driver get back into the bus and get me to work?"

The driver did come in and tell us to exit the bus and hop in the one parked behind so I ended up standing anyway.

In Yangyang, I met the university shuttlebus for the ride to the Gangneung campus.

The bus reached a red light. It did not stop but moved as far to the right as possible, eventually making a shallow semicircle in the empty perpendicular lanes and continuing with only a slight dip in the speed.

As a cyclist, I used to do that very occassionally. I usually pay close attention to the traffic laws as a cyclist. I also hate it when drivers run red lights.

However, when my busdriver (or the occassional taxidriver) does it, I feel grateful. Oh, and a steadily decreasing sense of guilt.

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