Sunday, July 15, 2012

Vietnam - The HCM city riders

When my wife and I visited Ho Chi Minh City few months back, we were surprised to note the multitude of motorcycles in all its city roads. You would see ladies in heels, families, deliveries and so on using the motorbikes. In fact, you will seldom meet HCMC people who haven't got involved in any motorbike accident according to our tour guide. Moreover, both parties who were involved in the accident always tried to fix the problem themselves because it would be too expensive for them if police would get involved.

I am not exaggerating when I say that there are more motorcycles in HCMC than in entire Philippines. According to a recent local news report, there are 3.7 million motorcycles in Philippines whereas there are 4 million motorcycles in HCMC alone according to our tour guide. That corresponds to 40% of HCMC population owning motorbike. The main reason for this according to him was the lower per-capita income of the people thus it was easier for them to acquire motorbike than any 4 wheels vehicle.

Can you just imagine how many motorbikes are there in the whole Vietnam? According to our guide, there are more than 10 million motorbikes in the whole Vietnam.

Because of this, we found it difficult to cross any road due to presence of countless motorbikes running in different speed; sometimes the road was too wide making it more difficult for any new comer in HCMC to reach the other side of the road. Hence, we preferred to cross the intersection where traffic lights were installed.

It was in this light that our tour guide gave us tip on how to cross the road safely. While on zebra crossing, we can confidently close our eyes and start crossing the road slowly. The bikers, all of them would give us some space until we reach the other side of the road. However, he cautioned us that we should never go back when we started crossing the road otherwise, we would be in trouble. We tried to follow his advice but without closing our eyes, it was effective. We agreed that he wasn't joking.

In addition, along the main roads or high way, we have noticed that there were dedicated motorbike lanes to prevent them from mingling with 4 wheels vehicles running at higher speed. This was possible due to wide road network in HCMC and less vehicular traffic unlike in Manila.

heels on wheels 1
heels on wheels 2

family on wheels

business on wheels

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