EDITING : 2022.10.31 월 21:10
The Gachon Herald
A Road Hog? 21st Century Transportation? It’s up to You!Scooter Sharing System; how are you using it?
Kim So-Hee  |  soheee2020@naver.com
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Updated : 2021.06.23  20:44:14
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 You can see people riding a shared scooter passing through the streets every minute or every 30 seconds. As this modern society becomes a shared society in the 21st century, the use of shared scooters that incorporate sharing services into personal mobility continues to increase. According to the Seoul Metropolitan Government's announcement last October, the number of rented shared scooters in Seoul increased more than five times compared to 2019. Significantly, the shared scooters are more convenient and efficient than other shared mobilities, so it has become a part of the everyday lives of the younger generation, ranging from college students to office workers. However, as the number of users increases, safety issues and accidents related to shared scooters are increasing daily; therefore, boosting public consciousness is required to safely use shared scooters.

 Electric scooters have notable advantages and differences among other shared mobilities such as 'Ttareungi' and 'KaKao Bike'. First of all, unlike other shared mobility, users do not need any specific stands or rental stations for renting and using them. It is very efficient when riding short distances because people can have access to use and also park anywhere. Also, their relatively high speed and convenience, due to their ability to move the body while riding, are both advantages when compared to the modern options. The second advantage is that it is eco-friendly because it uses electricity as the main power source. Not emitting exhaust is a very desirable feature that fits the global trend of growing interest in the environment. Last but not least, the scooters have small bodies very effective in for passing between small and narrow side streets. It is a good case in point for next-generation transportation that it can reduce and alleviate losses from traffic congestion.
 The electric scooter, which is becoming one of the next-generation transportation options, has undergone two recent law revisions. When electric scooter was first introduced, there was no proper legal regulation to regulate it on the borderline between kickboards and motorcycles. As the number of electric scooter users increased, the government lowered legal age for electric scooter driving to 13 years old in the revision on December 10, 2020 but raised back to 16 years old again on May 2021 due to reactions from citizens. Also, the revision last December included allowing unlicensed driving, but after realizing the need for driver's licenses due to various safety accidents, the law was revised again so that only licensees could ride it. These two revisions both include riding on a bike lane. Generally, electric scooters should be driven on the road, but in unexpected situations, they should be driven on a bike lane, not sidewalks. A helmet is also a must, not an option, and a fine will be imposed if drive without helmet. Drunk driving is also punishable, as with other mobilities.

 We can often see the problems of shared scooter and various accidents the shared scooter cause around us. It is especially difficult to crack down on signal violations and drunk driving for shared scooters. In particular, it is impossible to crack down on drunk driving because many people use shared scooters on sidewalks, not on roads. In addition, due to the characteristic of the shared scooter, hidden failures cannot be checked and identified before using it. Even if the scooter goes wrong, most people do not report it because they think the scooter may have broken down before their use and do not want to bear the burden of repair costs. This unclear responsibility can cause major safety accidents. And most of all, the problems which happen the most are double occupancy and parking. Due to the high price of renting a shared scooter and the desire to ride it with their friends or family, many people use one scooter together. It is made for one person, so very dangerous for more than one person to use. Also, the advantage of shared scooter, which does not require any rental station, can be applied as a disadvantage as well. After using the shared scooter, many users leave it randomly on the sidewalks, blocking pedestrian's paths and causing traffic jams.
 We must have all of these in our minds and take extra care when using and riding the shared scooters. So then, how can we ride and enjoy the shared scooter safely? First, if you are unfamiliar with electric scooters, you must familiarize yourself with the manual before using it. In addition, you should look over if there is any hidden fault by checking whether the brake and handles are in good working condition before riding and check how much the battery is left, considering your travelling distance. Also, at night, use both front light and taillights and make extra attention when you take a turn. Finally, try not to accelerate or slow down too fast, and as it is an electric device, avoid driving and use public transportation in case of rain.
 Last March, a college student who hit and injured a 80 year-old pedestrian while riding a shared scooter was punished. As accidents of shared scooter are increasing, it is essential to improve public consciousness to reduce these accidents. Since most people do not buy and use electric scooter but rent, the choice for the safety of not only mine but all the other society members' is very important, especially in a shared society like today. I hope Gachon University students have a safe time considering both the convenience and the safety of others.

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