Crossing Cambodia

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Chasing Cars Cambodian Style, 17 December 2008

My last posting before all Cambodia motorcyclists are supposed to become helmet clad. Or not.
  • WHO in Vietnam claim that the compulsory helmets have saved
    '... more than 1,000 lives since it was introduced a year ago'.
    Which is more than 10% and has reversed increasing of traffic fatalities. Show's to some extent that the Vietnamese government take protecting their own serious.

    This contrasts with the situation here, where helmets have been compulsory for nearly two years but the traffic police are not enforcing. They have announced to implement the law as of Jan. 1, though we have heard that often before.
  • But it's not only helmets that worries Cambodian authorities:
    'Of the more than 800,000 motorbikes registered in Cambodia, only 14,000 driver's licences have been issued since the enforcement of traffic laws in 2007, according to transport officials, who are resorting to new tactics to increase knowledge of the Kingdom's road rules'.
    That's nearly 2%! Or in other words 98% have no license. New tactics however seem to be the same as ever:
    '... giving lessons on traffic law [at selected number of high schools in Phnom Penh]'.
    What about enforcing the measures? The above mentioned article on helmets in Vietnam mentions fines of 12$!
  • Other worries:
    'The skies over Dangkor district [of Phnom Penh] will be free of kites following an announcement by aviation authorities Thursday that kite-flying posed a risk to airplane safety and would henceforth be banned in the area'.
    Though a general international rule, CC doubts whether the skies will be truly free, a ban needs to be enforced. And how to ban? New tactics?
    'Most of the kite flyers are aged between 10 and 14 years old, and if we cannot educate them, then we will have to educate their parents'.

  • Then real worries or not? The link refers to a forum on the Tales of Asia concerning disembarking from the boot on the Phnom Penh - Siem Reap stretch. Two persons fell in the water with luggage. Damages are not paid:
    'Yes, they [the boat companies] are insured but the insurance stops when the boat engines are cut...'.
    'My concluding recommendation is to avoid selling this boat trip.
    Not only is it dangerous but it’s a completely overhyped tourist trap.
    1. Most of the trip (4 out of 5 hours) is on the Tonle Sap Lake, meaning there is nothing to see but lake water.
    2. The boat is quite crowded with very narrow seats and luggage is placed in the aisle.
    3. There are no stops on the way, no refreshments or snacks are offered.
    4. It’s comparatively expensive.
    Instead the bus should be recommended'.
  • The same site also has a recent mention of the road to Siem Reap from the Thai border.
    'Fun at the best of times after seven days of continuous rain the way now looked prime. Ships in a storm seldom roll so furiously. I gripped the seat in front with fingers, toes and even kneecaps. My head begged my neck to let it smash itself through the glass window. Nineteen people from eight different countries abruptly had nothing to say, in part for fear of severing one’s own tongue.
    Driving 150 kilometres from the border of Thailand we arrived at our destination over nine hours later'.

    The Cambodia Daily though reported last week how tourists were being 'kidnapped' by rivalry between competing transport companies in Poipet, a great place ... to leave.
  • Is this a worry for Cambodian's roads?
    'Sam An, 43, who runs a private automobile dealership on Phnom Penh's Monivong Boulevard, said his sales have declined by up to 50 percent over the last six months from a peak during the building boom of 2006, 2007 and the early part of 2008'.

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