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Deregulations for Electric Scooters that Might Lead to More Casualties
Jeon Jae-hyun  |  jjaehyun97@hanyang.ac.kr
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[348호] 승인 2020.12.01  
트위터 페이스북 미투데이 요즘 네이버 구글 msn

Starting from December 10, 2020, teenagers 13 years and older (middle school students) will be able to ride an electric scooter (ES) on the bicycle road without a driver’s license and without having received proper education on safety. The Road Traffic Act Amendment was passed by the 20th Parliament on May 19, 2020, created by three politicians: Hong Ui-rak, Yun Jae-ok, and Lee Chan-yeol. Hong proposed the idea first, Yun dedicated to eliminating the necessity for having a driver’s license to ride, and Lee categorized the ES as a “Personal Mobility unit (PM),” which includes electric bicycles, electric skateboards, and more. Since the Bicycle Utilization Act allows a 14-year-old to ride a bicycle, Lee’s work ultimately enabled a 14-year-old to ride an electric scooter, now considered the same as a bicycle. Meanwhile, the Korea Transportation Safety Authority (KOTSA) revealed that the number of casualties caused by the ES increase by 95 percent every year, resulting in a total of 835 casualties over the past three years, including 16 deaths. The first official case was on September 17, 2018, when a female was killed by an ES rider. On October 24, 2020, a 24-year-old university student in Yongin was found on the ground with an ES; she was later hospitalized but remained unconscious for 15 days. Even though the current regulations for the ES require a driver’s license, a law enforcing riders to drive on the bicycle road (300,000 won fine when breaking the law), and to allow people aged over 17 years to ride the ES, people are still ignorant of these laws and not careful enough of their own safety. Thus, a new term came out for these kinds of people: “Scoodeer (Scooter + water deer)”. Hong Gi-won, a politian, proposed a new amendment on September 17, with regards to the safety of the ES that 5 million won should be charged when the ES is not parked in a parking lot, insurance must be purchased, and safety courses need to be taken before riding. However, the passing of this amendment still needs time since designing such insurance is tricky due to the lack of an accident case database. A three-wheeled ES can be an alternative for more safety, rather than a two-wheeler. Gear function can be helpful as well for speed control when the limit is 25 km/h. Despite the political deregulations and the overall ES industry, it is hoped that less casualties will occur next year with the technological improvements.

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