Earlier this month, Global Voices featured a viral photo of a Vietnamese woman riding a scooter without a helmet while carrying a child. One of the comments about the photo said that it reflected the real situation in the streets of Vietnam. Indeed, it is common to see motorbike riders without a helmet not just in Hanoi, but in other Vietnamese cities.
But this spectacle is not limited to Vietnam. If we travel to other cities in Southeast Asia, we can find similar examples of road safety violations.
The photo above this article shows another motorbike rider without a helmet, but this time it’s in Thailand.
Strict implementation of traffic laws is necessary to protect the public's safety. But we often see people, including children, riding vehicles that pose a great risk to their lives. They are concrete reminders about the inadequate and inefficient transport systems in many Southeast Asian nations. Check out the photos below:
Travelling in Cambodia can be really difficult, especially in the northeast:
Indonesia's trains can get very overcrowded during rush hours:
Jeepneys transport people and goods in the Philippines, even if they are often overloaded:
Jeepney here in province be like … pic.twitter.com/xSThHDuxP7
— Alyssa Abordo (@AlyssaAbordo_) April 13, 2014
In Myanmar, writer Jason Szep probes the country’s antiquated transport system:
Most vehicles, for instance, are right-hand drive, a throwback to British colonialism. Yet the roads are right-hand traffic, similar to the American system, reducing visibility and keeping drivers on perpetual alert.
As Southeast Asian nations gear up for the 2015 integration of their economies, they must also overhaul their transport services to boost local growth, productivity, and most importantly, protect the safety of their citizens.