Scooter rider dies in Busan, Lime takes heat

Home > National > Social Affairs

print dictionary print

Scooter rider dies in Busan, Lime takes heat

American-based scooter rental company Lime is taking flak after investigators declared that a 30-year-old Korean killed in a car collision while riding a Lime electric scooter in Busan was license-less.

The accident occurred at 12:15 early morning. Sunday, the scooter illegally crossed a street at a red light, colliding with a car that was most likely speeding above the 50 kilometer (31 mile) per hour speed limit.

This was the first electric scooter fatality in Busan after two elsewhere. Lime is being accused of not instituting a proper safety protocol.

In order to rent a Lime scooter off the street, users must open the Lime app, search for a nearby scooter, and “unlock” the scooter by scanning its QR code. First-time users must register an account, but only need to confirm their identity through their cellphones and enter a method of payment.

In Korea, scooter users are legally required to have a driver’s license, but the company renting out them out has no legal obligation to confirm whether users have a license. In the case of Lime, the company makes users agree to a statement on the app that they do indeed have a driver’s license, but does not confirm whether that is actually the case. Korean scooter companies confirm driver’s licenses.

As a result, Lime tends to be more popular with students and other unlicensed people.

Lime’s guidelines and instructions are in English, save for the agreement clause in Korean. Lime is being criticized for taking advantage of legal loopholes and not doing enough to protect the safety of its customers.

It is illegal to use scooters on sidewalks, so users must be able to navigate the scooters through traffic.

This phenomenon of scooters unexpectedly working their way into traffic already has a name in Korean: “kick-rani,” with the “kick” coming from “kickboards,” a local term for scooters, and “rani” coming from the Korean word “gorani,” which means deer. Just as a deer darts out of woods in front of a car on dark country roads, so, too, does a scooter suddenly appear on dimly lit city streets.

It not easy to get compensation in the event of a scooter accident.

Although Lime offers insurance to users, it only kicks in when the fault in an accident is due to a scooter malfunction.

BY LEE EUN-JI, ANDREW LEE [lee.joongi@joongang.co.kr]

More in Social Affairs

Hoping to fail

Case wrapped up on famous serial killings of 1980s

Jump in Gwangju Covid-19 cases worries health officials

Choo shuts down prosecutor general's probe

Seoul central prosecution's demand for more independence rejected

Log in to Twitter or Facebook account to connect
with the Korea JoongAng Daily
help-image Social comment?
lock icon

To write comments, please log in to one of the accounts.

Standards Board Policy (0/250자)

What’s Popular Now