Share this article

print logo

Pizza deliverymen in deadly game

They're on the streets at all hours, the motorcycle deliverymen slicing through traffic on their race against the clock, defying both the law and common sense to get their cargo delivered on time.

Run a few red lights? Pull a last-second dash across six lanes of traffic? No problem. And if the zigzag through gridlock fails, there's always the sidewalk -- pedestrians know to stay out of the way.

"It's not that I want to deliberately disobey traffic laws, but when you have customers breathing down your neck, it's really hard not to," deliveryman Bang Chang-min said. "When I'm on a bike, I'm under so much pressure that I feel I transform into somebody else."

But the recent death of a pizza deliveryman may cause South Koreans to rethink their obsession with zippy fast-food conveyance. On Tuesday, government officials announced a new educational campaign to encourage consumers to think safety over speed.

In the last five years, 4,098 vehicular accidents nationwide involved motorcycle deliverymen, a subculture dominated by teenagers looking for part-time work, according to government statistics.

In South Korea, all kinds of food is advertised with quick home delivery, from burgers and fried chicken to items bought at mom-and-pop groceries. The result is often road chaos. Deliverymen sprint about the city with boxes strapped to the backs of their motorcycles. Some drive one-handed in order to carry more orders.

Delivery jobs are stressful and turnover is high. With some pizza companies, drivers must absorb the loss if they arrive late and food is given away free. Others pay drivers -- most of whom make less than $5 an hour -- an incentive of 40 cents for on-time arrivals.

There are no comments - be the first to comment