Survival tips for cyclists in Korea

1. Don't be afraid.
When a car honks at you, it is not for warning you, but to acknowledge that it is the strongest and to demand right of way. So, instead of timidly creeping to the edge of the road, move to the left and claim more space of the road. More honks mean that you are well noticed and that you are safe.

2. Claim your rights.
When a truck moves from a building site onto the road and the driver just pretends that you do not exist (completely normal situation) don't pull over, but accelerate, raising your hand firmly to stop him, so to make clear that you will definitely not stop for him. It sounds like suicide, but I can assure you that it works and if you stop, you'll find yourself in a very vulnerable situation for other cars. The same applies for buses that accelerate from bus stops.

3. Don't get yourself squeezed.
Be aware of the dangerous situation when the road is bending to the right and a long truck or a bus is overtaking you. If there is no shoulder, stop or accelerate, when you see/hear a truck or bus approaching from behind.

4. Don't let buses trap you.
When approaching a bus stop, check if there is a bus coming. If yes, move to the left, keeping the bus behind you. Otherwise you find yourself trapped between the sidewalk and the bus, with ignorant bus passengers stumbling over your wheels.

5. Mind crazy taxi drivers
When you see a pedestrian in front of you waving down a taxi, look out! It means that the taxi may already be alongside and taxidrivers just deny the existence of cyclists. Raise your hand or give a (friendly) shout.

6. Show your intentions.
Make very clear to all traffic what your intentions are when approaching a junction. Hold out your hand in the air or to the left or right, maybe even in a grotesque way, like a policeman on point duty. It not only makes 100% clear what your movements will be, but it also shows that you are not subordinate to car drivers.

Claiming respect is important for maintaining yourself in Korean society. In Korean traffic, it is a matter of life and death.

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