Crossing Cambodia

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

First impression

Anybody, fresh from the plane in either Siem Reap or Phnom Penh will be intrigued by the nature of the traffic. Chaotic, anarchic, odd. Half of the vehicles plying the road are motorbikes, quite a few overloaded with more than 2 persons. Everybody seems to be moving with a tendency for sticking to the right hand of the road, with the space nearest the sidewalk reserved for an alternative load of traffic facing the general traffic direction. At crossroads, most drivers opt for the shortest routes and all traffic streams teem through each other trying to avoid a collision. Well that’s the first impressions. The following illustration was obtained from the Tales of Asia blog and refers to a possible traffic flow on any typical Cambodian crossroad. Mind you, there are many more possibilities!

More detailed observation reveals that Cambodian drivers are forward looking, often resulting in cutting the traffic behind. Class distinctions: the more important a car looks, the more the driver receives the privilege of having others brake for him/her. Drivers take risks, blindly throwing themselves in the melee with little or no precautions to safety, not their own and especially none for more traffic users.

Well that’s sufficient for the first impression, from now on Cambodia Crossing will be looking more intensely at the various traffic users and the different methods used. Additionally Crossing Cambodia will try to keep you posted concerning new measures and other traffic news from the Cambodian press.

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