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Southeast Asia's Public Transport Woes in Photos

Despite Thai laws requiring mandatory wearing of crash helmets, both rider and passenger appears to flout the law. Photo by Matthew Richards, Copyright @Demotix (10/6/2012)

Despite Thai laws requiring mandatory wearing of crash helmets, both rider and passenger appears to flout the law. Photo by Matthew Richards, Copyright @Demotix (10/6/2012)

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:

Thai schoolchildren pictured as they ride home on the roof of a crowded truck. Photo by Matthew Richards, Copyright @Demotix (7/18/2013)

Thai schoolchildren pictured as they ride home on the roof of a crowded truck. Photo by Matthew Richards, Copyright @Demotix (7/18/2013)

Travelling in Cambodia can be really difficult, especially in the northeast:

Photo from @billherod

Photo from @billherod

Indonesia's trains can get very overcrowded during rush hours:

Train passengers in Jakarta sit on the roof carriage, side windows and between carriages. Photo by wisnu agung prasetyo, Copyright @Demotix, (9/29/2010)

Train passengers in Jakarta sit on the roof carriage, side windows and between carriages. Photo by wisnu agung prasetyo, Copyright @Demotix, (9/29/2010)

Jeepneys transport people and goods in the Philippines, even if they are often overloaded:

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.

UPDATE: Jakarta has installed concrete balls on trains in 2012 to deter rooftop riders

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