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The Outlaws on the Road
Written by Jeong Bin Kim | Published. 2020.11.10 16:46 | Count : 456

It is nearly impossible nowadays to walk outside without spotting people racing down the streets on electric scooters. These electric scooters have recently become more accessible through rental services like Xingxing, Kickgoing, Beam, and Lime. With these services, all it takes is a quick scan with a smartphone for people to reach their destinations quickly. The number of people who use electric scooter rental services have increased sixfold from last year. This shows that the electric scooter has become a new mode of transport for many people. The popularity of electric scooters has also reached the Global Education City (GEC) in Jeju, which is home to 9,000 students. Here, it is easy to spot young teenagers on electric scooters.

[Electric Scooters and Bikes in front of the School Gate photo credit: Jeong Bin Kim]

One of these student riders in the GEC is Yubeen Jung from Korea International School Jeju (KISJ). When asked about the benefits of riding an electric scooter, she answered, “Since it takes a lot less time to go from point A to point B on an electric scooter than just being on foot, I can use my time more efficiently and wisely.” Like everything else, however, the pros of getting around on an electric scooter come with their cons. Yubeen said that the amount of exercise she used to get naturally from walking to places has decreased significantly. She also added that a more serious downside of riding electric scooters is the risk of severe accidents. She said, “There have been many times when I was close to getting into a car accident, but it is still difficult to let go of electric scooter because of the sheer convenience it provides.” Minah Son, another student at KISJ, a frequent electric scooter rider, said, “I wish there were designated lanes for electric scooters in the GEC because almost everybody rides electric scooters nowadays.”

[Interview with Yubeen Jung, photo credit: Jenny Hwang]

Although the number of traffic accidents involving electric scooters has been increasing steadily over the last three years, student riders in the GEC do not wear safety gears. When asked why students do not apply safety equipment, they replied that although they are well aware of the risks, they are just lazy and feel that  the chances of getting injured is very low. In addition, student riders in the GEC do not have a license, which is a violation against the current regulation that requires riders to be over the age of 16 to operate motorized vehicles. Nonetheless, students are led not to think much of it since there are no enforcement officers in the GEC to make sure that student riders conform to these safety regulations.

[Injury After Falling Down from the Electric Scooter photo credit: Jeong Bin Kim]

The sight of people riding electric scooters is likely to become more common as new regulations, starting this December, will allow anyone over the age of 13 to ride scooters without a license. Having recently bought an electric scooter myself, I can also easily foresee a growth in the number of riders because I have personally experienced the convenience it provides for my everyday commute. The benefit of riding an electric scooter makes it difficult to give it up; even after reading about the horrible accidents, we are prone to think that getting in an accident is unlikely. However, anyone in the GEC can get into an accident, including myself, which is why it is crucial to properly monitor the GEC to make sure that students are less exposed to dangers. It is one thing to require riders to wear safety gears, but another to make sure that the rules are being followed to ensure that the GEC is a safe place for students.

Jeong Bin Kim 
Grade 11 
Korea International School Jeju

Jeong Bin Kim  student_reporter@dherald.com

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