As the new semesters for universities are starting, Seoul city decided to appoint and operate model universities for bicycle riding in order to promote students to ride bicycle on campus. This is an expansion plan for the past bicycle riding promotion implemented in the middle and high schools by Seoul city. A total of 19 schools were selected as model universities for bicycle riding. Hanyang University (HYU) was also selected as one of the appointed universities.
|▲ "Dragging a bicycle" is a ore appropriate expression in HYU
What Is the Purpose?
The Seoul city announced that the purpose of appointing model universities for bicycle riding is to encourage university students, who move around a lot in a large campus, to ride bicycles in between classes which are quite a distance to walk. It also promotes students?health and the environment since bicycle is environment friendly. In order to encourage students to ride bicycles, Seoul city built bicycle storage places, and placed air pumps in the areas in each university campus where the demand level is high, under the discussions with each university.
Is It Possible?
"I bought my scooter as soon as I got into this university. It only takes minutes from class to class. I think a scooter is the only choice left for the students of HYU," said Choi Hyuk, a freshman. Students, riding scooters to climb hills on campus is not a rare scene at HYU. Because HYU is built on a mountain, students spend most of their time either ascending or descending the hill. Most of the hills in HYU are very steep; it is also very rare to see flat ground in HYU. Therefore, numerous hanyangians purchase scooters to save time and energy used in climbing hills. Bicycles can rarely be found in HYU.
Lee Dong-yul, a 21 year old School of Business student, commented "I think H in HYU stands for 'Hills!' The hills of HYU are very steep. I once burned my scooter engine by climbing a hill toward the Paiknam Academic Information Center & Library from the School of Business building. Climbing these kind of hills with a bicycle, is nonsense. I once saw a person riding a bicycle to go down the hill behind the Administration Building of HYU. He looked like he could not control his speed; his brakes must have been worn out. He ran into a bush near the Amphitheatre and finally stopped. He was not injured, but I could not imagine what would have happened to him if he went onto the road."
Roads for Automobiles
|▲ In HYU, a motorcycle is parked in the bicycle storage place
Most of the roads in HYU are labeled as "Motorway." Only two parts of HYU are labeled as "Pedestrian path." Bicycles can not go on the motorway for safety reasons. It is too risky for students with bicycles to share the road with automobiles. Thus, it means students can only use the roads designed for pedestrians. However, they are only located beyond the Front Gate and behind the Administration Building. These roads are limited for students to use them as a path to go to their classes with a bicycle.
Why Did They Include HYU?
In spite of all the doubtful points and pessimistic outlooks, why was HYU selected as one of the model universities for bicycle riding? Lee You-kook, a staff member at the Transportation System Division, answers this question. "We actually thought and talked over and over on appointing HYU as a model university for bicycle riding. A number of people suggested that HYU is not suitable for bicycle riding; however, we brought this issue over to Seongdong-gu, and they appealed that HYU wants to be appointed as the model university for bicycle riding. Although HYU itself is not suitable for bicycle riding, there is a bicycle road in a close reach behind the Hanyang Women's College. Also, Cheonggyecheon and Jungryangcheon are located close to HYU. Students can ride their bicycles there. Since HYU wanted to be chosen, we decided to appoint HYU as one of the model universities due to above reasons, rather than dropping it."
However, bicycle storage places are built in front of the Paiknam Academic Information Center & Library and Aegimoon. This decision is raising doubts. "If HYU is not suitable for bicycle riding, why are the bicycle storage places being built?"
How Does the School Take This?
The Property Management Section of HYU and the Department of Facility Operation indicated Student Affairs Section as the group in charge of this issue. However, Student Affairs Section replied, "We did not even know HYU was selected as a model university for bicycle riding. Also, we are not in charge of it." Thus, who is responsible and in charge of this, remains a mystery. How HYU was appointed as a model university without approval of any of those three departments above, is also an enigma.
Lee Chang-seok, a student from HYU gives a feedback about this issue. "I did not even know HYU was selected as a model university for bicycle riding. Seriously, this is a joke. I live close to HYU and I own a bicycle. However I do not even try bringing my bicycle to the school. There are too many steep hills in our school for students to ride bicycle on campus. Unless the school cuts down the hills, I do not think any of the plans and dedication to encourage students to ride bicycle in campus will work."
Reaching an Optimum Solution
Seoul city stated that in the future, if universities request for line marking and building a road designed for bicycles, they will provide support. Also introduction of Visit-Repair service for bicycle is under progress. However, these efforts do not affect HYU at all because HYU is not suitable for bicycle riding.
As Lee You-kook, mentioned, HYU is not suitable for bicycle riding. So why try to be a model university? Most of the students and staff do not even know HYU was even selected.
We cannot undo what has already been done. Since HYU is, selected as a model university for a bicycle riding, the school at least needs to advertise this and try to promote bicycle riding by emphasizing the merits HYU has.
HYU needs to promote bicycle riding in Cheonggyecheon and Jungryangcheon located close to HYU, since it was the reason they were appointed as a model university. Also, coming up with more creative plans to get hanyangians involved in bicycle riding is essential. Just building storage places and providing air pumps for bicycles in campus is not enough. Hopefully, HYU will soon "actually"become a model university for bicycle riding, with full of students riding bicycles.