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Two-wheeler crash deaths rise, as COVID-19 pushes up demand for delivery

Food delivery motorcycle. (Yonhap)
Food delivery motorcycle. (Yonhap)
The overall number of traffic accident deaths in South Korea dwindled this year, but two-wheeler crash deaths increased, police data showed Wednesday, apparently reflecting the growing demand for delivery services amid the spread of the coronavirus.

According to the National Police Agency (NPA) and the transport ministry, the number of deaths from all traffic accidents reached2,587 in the first 10 months of this year, marking a fall of 5.5 percent from 2,739 deaths in the same period of last year.

Despite the overall decrease, however, the number of deaths of two-wheeler riders in crashes rose 9 percent from 409 to 446 in the same period, while fatalities from expressway accidents increased 8.3 percent from 169 to 183.

The NPA explained that the rise in two-wheeled vehicle deaths was attributed to the surge in home delivery demand for food and other consumer goods due to the COVID-19 outbreak, while this summer's longest-ever rainy spell resulted in increased expressway accidents.

Fatalities from other types of road accidents showed year-on-year decreases, the agency said.

Deaths from accidents involving drunk drivers and commercial vehicles, such as buses, taxis and trucks, fell 10 percent, respectively, while the number of pedestrians killed in traffic accidents also decreased 12 percent, it noted.

In recent years, the number of traffic accident deaths has been on the steady decline, falling from 4,621 in 2015 to 4,292 in 2016, 4,185 in 2017, 3,781 in 2018 and 3,349 in 2019, the NPA said. (Yonhap)