So today I googled “motorbike Vietnam” in an attempt to find info about purchasing a motorbike here. Somehow I got brought to a page about “motorbike accidents Vietnam.” I got a quick glance at some of the most disturbing pictures I’ve ever seen… You know the type of shit you wish you didn’t see? Yeah, those images are now burnt into my brain forever… 🙁
It also inspired me to write this post. Please be very careful riding motorbikes in Asia! I’m not going to preach to you like your mom and tell you all of the dangers of world travel. I’m all for living life with no fear. Ride a motorbike across Vietnam! Bang a hooker! Wander around some 3rd world city alone! Live it up guys. But just take some simple precautions to help keep you alive and healthy.
Motorbike Safety in South East Asia
Always wear a helmet when riding your motorbike. I must admit I don’t always do that… Shit, I drove a real motorcycle in America and I rarely wore a helmet. Fuck it! If it’s my time to go then so be it! My attitude is different now… I’d like to stick around on this great planet for as long as possible. When a human head hits a car hood, the bumper of a bus or pavement at high speed the results are not pretty…
In Vietnam, you will often see taxi cabs honking their horns and speeding through a busy intersection. They flash their lights, hold down the horn and speed into the wrong lane missing motorbikes by inches. Some of these bikes are carrying families of five including an infant baby.
It’s some really reckless shit, but they have to do it or they would never get anywhere! Driving in South East Asia is nothing like the western world. There are absolutely no rules in some places and anything goes!
Drive on the wrong side of the road. Carry a large amount of construction materials on an old shitty bike with no lights or signals. Ride on the side walks and honk your horn at people to get the fuck out of your way. Carry two huge steaming pots of lobsters balanced across the back of your bike. I’ve seen it all.
You have to be aware of your surroundings at every moment. You need to constantly be scanning in all directions and cover your brakes just in case you need to stop quick. In Asia, people just pull out into moving traffic without looking. It’s up to you to swerve around them. In Vietnam people actually take the mirrors off of their bikes! They never use them anyways.
Once you learn the flow of traffic in these places it’s not so bad. Just wear your helmet, take it slow and always be watching! Idiots pulling out into traffic, a kid crossing the street, a dog running out into the road. You can’t space out for a second or it could cost you dearly.
I also recommend learning how to ride before coming out here. If you want to learn how to ride in Asia then I suggest renting an automatic scooter and taking it to a quiet street to get comfortable on the thing.
I’m not going to get into accident statistics and death rates here… I’ll wrap it up by saying, just be careful when riding motorbikes here. This place is nothing like your home country which probably has traffic laws and police that enforce them. So many foreigners travel to Thailand, rent bikes and kill themselves riding all cocked up.
You don’t want to be in some island hospital all fucked up. Or even worse, you will be in some beat up old Viet ambulance stuck in Saigon traffic… No thanks!
One of my biggest hobbies is riding motorcycles. South East Asia has so many awesome riding opportunities! Just be safe and wear your gear if you are doing any real riding. Helmet, jacket, gloves, jeans, shoes. If you hit the pavement while wearing your gear, you can usually pick up your scratched bike and go home. Without gear, even a light spill will take some skin off. Not fun!
After stumbling across those horrific google images I’m now looking to buy a quality full face helmet. I need to take care of this face! How else will I get laid? Cheers Guys!