Bikes or motor vehicles? E
Electric-powered bicycles, one of the most recent additions to South Korea's urban landscape, are quickly becoming a popular choice for short-distance travel, with many seen parked on streets and sidewalks across the nation's cities.
Replacing e-scooters, which once dominated Seoul's micromobility scene, e-bikes are enhancing public accessibility through affordable bike-sharing services.
Micromobility refers to lightweight, single-person vehicles that are used for transportation over short distances.
Kim Ji-min in her 20s is a frequent user of Elecle, an e-bike sharing service operated by local firm Nine2one.
“Renting an e-bike during morning rush hour saves time, as I don’t have to wait for the bus,” Kim said.
A typical 5-minute ride costs around 1,000 won ($0.75), with fees charged based on the ride duration, ranging from 60 won to 150 won per minute.
Some e-bike advocates look beyond renting, and instead choose to buy e-bikes to fully leverage their benefits.
"My decision to purchase an electric bicycle was based on convenience and cost-effectiveness," said Chun Min-kyu, in his 20s, who uses it for his daily commute.
"(The bike) is less affected by traffic during morning rush hour, and, more importantly, (it requires) less effort, as it moves much faster than a conventional bicycle."
Some even say that e-bikes have a promising market in South Korea, which is transitioning into a super-aged society, noting that motorized bikes might better meet the mobility needs of the elderly.