A delivery motorcycle is running fast on the road.
/Photography by Park Ji-won
As delivery services has grown due to the prolonged COVID-19 situation, receiving food through a motorcycle has become a part of daily life. Many motorcyclists who must complete the delivery in time are driving recklessly and violating road laws. The number of illegal driving problems is increasing due to the rapid growth of the food delivery industry in a short period. Therefore, it is necessary to come up with a prompt and realistic solution.
Motorcycle accidents have become common news
On August 26th, at an intersection near Seolleung Station, Gangnam-gu, Seoul, a delivery motorcycle driver was hit by a 23-ton truck and died at the scene. The truck driver stated that his seat was too high to see the motorcyclist in front of him. Many people expressed sorrow for the accident. However, a motorcycle accident occurred again on the same road three days later. The motorcyclist who was turning right collided with another driver going straight at the left turn signal.
According to the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, and Transport (MOLIT), there were 2.31 million motorcycles registered nationwide as of May 2021. The number of registered motorcycles increased from 280,000 in 2018 to 380,000 last year. Also, 139,344 people applied for the two-wheeled vehicle license test which has increased about 16.3% from 2019 (119,772). The problem is that motorcycle violations and accident cases are also growing. According to a survey conducted by Korea Transportation Safety Authority (KTSA), 46.5% of motorcyclist surveyed violated the law. Motorcycle accidents have increased by an average of 9.9% over the past three years. In particular, it was found that 36.9% of the fatalities in motorcycle accidents were delivery workers. The police believe that excessive driving to handle more deliveries per hour to satisfy one’s desire has caused these terrible results.
Motorcycling causes various social problems
It is not easy to crack down on motorcyclists’ illegal activities. There are many cases where they quickly leave the site or avoid tracking by cleverly covering the license plate. Authorities say that they are reinforcing crackdowns but still have limitations. One of the reasons is because motorcycle license plates are located at the rear of the vehicles. Current unmanned cameras can only recognize front license plates. As a result, it is not easy to crack down on delivery motorcycles even though they violate traffic signals or speed regulations. A legal amendment was proposed to attach license plates in front of motorcycles. However, motorcycle drivers are against this, arguing that it can make it difficult to operate the handle due to severe air resistance and that it can seriously hurt the driver in the event of a collision.
Motorcycle driving also has a huge impact on third parties. A typical example is damage caused by the “hub.” The hub is a place where delivery drivers who belong to delivery companies gather around together and wait. It has emerged as food delivery services became activated. Unlike before, when restaurants directly hired delivery drivers, currently, delivery companies sign contracts with drivers and restaurants, respectively. It has been changed to a form of receiving a certain membership fee and a call fee per delivery. The changed delivery culture has created hubs. It causes noise pollution, traffic inconvenience, and a sense of intimidation to nearby residents. Since they are located in alleys in a residential area where lots of people pass through, it also gives inconvenience to pedestrians. Therefore, measures are required to address residents’ inconvenience and safety concerns. As a case of damage caused by motorcycles, Han Jong-won, a student at Dongguk University’s Department of Industrial System Engineering, said, “I do not like the smell of soot when a motorcycle passes by.” He also said, “I feel uneasy when I see a motorcycle getting pulled between cars while driving.”
There are various problems caused by motorcycles
Although there are still limitations, many efforts have been made to reduce motorcycle drivers’ illegal activities and accidents. The Seoul Metropolitan Police Agency plans to connect traffic police officers with local delivery companies one by one to check violations of the law. In addition, if a two-wheeled delivery vehicle is caught in a crackdown, the traffic police will visit the company in-person to provide traffic-safety education to the business owner. The MOLIT has also prepared a plan to improve the two-wheeled vehicle management system. It includes a systematic management plan, reporting fresh production to its disposal, which only automobiles were subject to safety inspections. However, currently, it is also being conducted on large two-wheeled vehicles. Small and medium-sized vehicles will also be included as soon as possible. If the driver does not undergo a safety inspection, the manager can issue it and order suspension. Local governments can also abolish the use of the vehicle.
Major advanced countries have strengthened their licensing system, issuing licenses only to those who have proven their driving ability. They also give equal treatment to automobiles in terms of road provision. However, in Korea, motorcycles and cars are not treated equally. Motorcycles are prohibited on some roads. In fact, a motorcycle driver wrote on the bulletin board of MOLIT that this problem causes motorcyclists to travel on downtown intersections, which increases the probability of accidents. It indicates that Korea should raise the criteria for issuing licenses and review whether motorcycle roads are enough.
The mindset of delivery drivers is the most important part. They should remember that they cannot guarantee their lives if they speed up and face an accident. In addition, to reduce injuries from traffic accidents, they should wear safety equipment and obey traffic laws. Han emphasized that motorcyclists should avoid speeding and drive safely. In particular, he said that since motorcycles are very dangerous two-wheeled vehicles, following safety rules is a way for motorcyclists to be safe and consider others at the same time.
Motorcycles do not have any crucial protective devices other than a helmet, so when an accident occurs, it often leads to fatal injuries. Recognizing that human life and safety are more important than anything else, drivers should follow the laws and regulations on their own. Moreover, people who use delivery services should put more importance on safety instead of rushing them. The government must also create a suitable traffic environment for motorcyclists. Motorcyclists will be able to establish a safe driving culture when all these efforts work together.
Park Ji-won firstname.lastname@example.org
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