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KUNSAN AIR BASE, South Korea — Scooter drivers are required to complete a base safety class before they tackle the streets.

The air base has beefed up requirements because of scooters’ popularity, said Maj. Keith Pannabecker, 8th Fighter Wing chief of safety.

Under South Korean law, any mo-ped under a rating of 50 cc is not required to register as a motor vehicle, he said, or to have a license plate or insurance.

But Defense Department regulations say anything with two wheels and a motor must be registered with the base, so that rule now is being enforced, Pannabecker said. Scooters won’t have a license plate but will get a registration sticker.

The base has from 25 to 50 mo-peds. Younger airmen especially find them a useful, cheap way to get around, the safety chief said. Many of the mo-peds are 49 cc, just below the limit for requiring registration under South Korean law, he said.

The safety class, which spans two eight-hour days, is designed to help educate less-experienced riders. The course covers basic maneuvering and proper clothing to wear while riding.

“They are so light,” Pannabecker said. “They can stop so quickly. We advise them to use caution when they are driving these things because they are not like a car.”

Kunsan has had no recent mo-ped accidents, but training reduces risk, Pannabecker said.

“We feel fortunate so far,” he said. “We are concerned about inexperienced riders with the weather conditions we have had. We want to make sure everyone knows the rules.”

Among those rules, he said: Passengers are forbidden on mo-peds, and riders must wear a helmet, safety vest, gloves, long-sleeved clothing and sturdy footwear. The mo-ped’s light must be on at all times.


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