Shared Electric Scooters Arrive at Dankook University

丹国大学共享电动踏板车抵达 심민정, 최윤서, 임재도, 오유준l승인2020.12.07l수정2020.12.07 11:59l383호 1면

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   Electric Scooters are now a popular means of transport on campus. You can find them parked all over the place, with people using them to travel between classrooms and dormitories or simply to make the long climb uphill. The Jukejeon campus is built on a steep mountainside, so the introduction of shared scooters for hire are convenient for students who need to get around. However, their popularity has also raised alarms about the dangers of their unfettered use.

   A shared electric scooter system literally allows people to share the usage of an electric scooter.  The system is managed by an associated smartphone application such as “XINGXING” and “GCOOTER”. However, not everyone who downloads the application can use the shared electric scooter. Drivers need proof of a driver’s license, and an electronic means of payment.

   To access a shared scooter, users must register for an account by providing proof of a valid driver’s license and method of payment through the app. Then, users can search for available scooters using the map feature in their smartphone app. Once they locate an available scooter, they need to scan the QR code with their smartphone. Drivers are changed fares according to the time they use the electric vehicle.

   Many Dankookians use electric scooters for their convenience because they travel long distances across campus. For students, it is common to have to get to another building to attend a different class. This coupled with the fact that the campus is built on a mountainside means that shared scooters make it easier for students to get where they need to be more efficiently.

▲ Gcooters in Dankook University. (Photo from Gcooter)

 

   However, there are many safety problems surrounding the use of these scooters. For instance, people who ride scooters on the sidewalk can be a threat to people on foot. If pedestrians are wearing earphones, they may not even notice a small fast moving scooter come up behind them. Scooters are also dangerous for the drivers. If they choose to travel on the road, they need to be wary of accidents with cars, especially at night when driving without a headlight turned on.

   Also, there is the issue of road safety rules. To use an electric scooter, users must follow road safety rules. This means they must possess class one or two driver's license, although this rule will be eliminated from December 10, and they must wear safety equipment such as a helmet, when driving. In addition, electric scooters cannot be used in parks or on cycle lanes and drunk driving is strictly prohibited. Despite these rules being in place, it is not uncommon to see quite a few people failing to comply with the terms of use. Most drivers operate electric scooters without any safety equipment or have found a way around the need for a driver’s license. Two or more people can also be seen riding on a single scooter. These blatant safety violations have led to some to call for greater guidance and training before being authorized to use the transportation devices.

▲ Safety rules for electric scooter. (Photo from SSingSSing)

   Another problem related to the use of electric scooters on campus is parking. There is no formal parking lot for scooters. Just a few months ago, students complained of the inconvenience caused by shared electric scooters being left everywhere. This led to a student putting up signs indicating a designated parking area for scooters.  Despite the student’s efforts, there are still many scooters that are not left aimlessly around campus.

   “In Jukjeon, DKU is located on a mountain with a steep hill,” said Mr. Jeong, who uses the shared scooters frequently for their convenience in helping him get around. We asked him what he thought about the safety risks. “Although I sometimes feel its dangerous due to the speed, there are rules and laws to protect pedestrians and riders. So, if the rider follows these rules and drives safely, people’s anxiety could be eased.” However, student Park, who uses scooters to climb the steep hill on campus said she was only aware of a few rules for their use. “I didn’t know there was a parking place for electric scooters.” In fact, when we asked her about parking, she seemed confused. “I often park it near the sidewalk or in front of the doors.” The DKH also asked other students who use scooters about wearing protective gear. All respondents said they never use it.

   While the convenience is obvious to some, not everyone is happy with their appearance on campus. “I often see people riding them, but they drive them very dangerously,” said student Choi who later explained that riders need to know their responsibilities and the potential dangers they cause. Choi also pointed out the problems related to parking. Leaving the scooters on the sidewalk causes some accidents as well as inconveniences pedestrians. Student Park agreed with their potential dangers. “Sometimes drivers speed up going downhill. Yesterday, I came close to colliding with one of them. I wonder sometimes if they even have a license. I think someone has to reinforcing the rules and check for valid licenses.” It was common for those who did not often use the scooters to call for better laws to protect pedestrians and to maintain order around campus. Even those that did not experience any close calls or accidents with scooters, felt threatened and inconvenienced by them.

   As more and more students use shared scooters, it is clear that drivers need to familiarize themselves with the rules surrounding their use. They must be prepared to handle potentially dangerous situations and adhere to basic rules such as wearing a helmet, and not riding a scooter after drinking alcohol. It is also important to remember that a single person is not the only one to use their electric vehicle, so it is crucial they take care of the devices and return them in the same condition they received them. Finally, it is important for users to park in designated parking areas, so that those who need them can find them with ease. If students follow these simple rules for the continued use of these devices designed to make our lives more convenient, we can ensure a safe environment for everyone on campus.


심민정, 최윤서, 임재도, 오유준  dankookherald@gmail.com
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