Photo: Motorized scooter rental in the streets of Seoul. Credit: the Blue Roof.
On November 30, the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transportation 국토교통부 announced that children under 18 years old will be prohibited from operating a motorized scooter, known locally as kickboards 킥보드.
This announcement is an about-face from the revisions in the Road Traffic Act 도로교통법 scheduled to take effect on December 10, which would have allowed children of over 13 years old to operate motorized scooters without any license. The revisions were intended to promote the motorized scooter rental business, which is seen as the new frontier of personal mobility and the sharing economy. Safety concerns, however, pushed the Land Ministry to reconsider: traffic accidents involving motorized scooters have increased 40-fold since 2017, with riders rarely wearing a helmet or other protective gear.