Fast-food delivery can be a deadly business. In South Korea, accidents involving motorcycle delivery men topped 4,000 in the last five years (1,395 in 2009 alone), and fatal collisions, labour unions say, have probably reached into the double digits in the last decade. So the government is taking action: last week, it launched an advertising campaign to increase public awareness of the dangers. In addition to ads on radio and TV, the effort includes distributing leaflets citing delivery men injury rates to customers at the very restaurants and food chains that have made breakneck rides a staple of South Korea’s fast-food culture. “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,” delivery man Bang Chang-min told the L.A. Times. “When I’m on a bike, I’m under so much pressure that I feel I transform into somebody else.”
All this deadline pressure is why motorcycles zigzagging through traffic, running red lights and even driving on the sidewalk has become so common, say local activists. But the increasing number of injuries and recent death of a Pizza Hut delivery man is forcing South Koreans to reconsider whether receiving a perfectly hot pizza at their door is worth the cost.