Crossing Cambodia

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Chasing Cars, 22-01-2008

More news on Cambodia and traffic. Helmets, do I hear helmets?
  • Helmets it is. Last week's chasing cars pointed to the lack of quality, now the media and NGO caravan are catching up.
    'Despite the much-touted introduction of the new helmet law - which makes protective headgear compulsory for motorbike drivers - over two weeks ago, drivers and passengers are still at risk due to a lack of regulations governing the quality of helmets sold in the Kingdom.'
    A Phnom Penh Post article today. Not only are NGO's clamoring, the police are clueless:
    'El Narin, deputy director of Phnom Penh's traffic police, said it is difficult for law enforcement officers to take action on drivers wearing poor-quality or inappropriate helmets.

    "Police don't have a plan to deal with drivers who wear unsuitable helmets. We are trying to introduce helmets step by step but haven't yet defined the quality of the helmet they have to wear," he said'.
    Hmmm, but these problems have occurred all over the world when helmets have become compulsory, now why hadn't the NGO(s) which help draft and support the Traffic Law think of that?
    And why can't (or couldn't) the police check at the source, i.e. the import of or at the sale of helmets?
    Anyway, at least these another excuse for a public campaign, anything to avoid Cambodia's economy from tipping over void. Chapeau to all involved!
  • More economic news, Cambodia's car industry has managed to produce 1 car in the last 4 years, but they are laying the foundations for a potential industry.
    'In the backstreets of Phnom Penh, in a cramped workshop shared with equipment and old parts, a Cambodian man is chasing his vision of greatness. Nhean Pholet is not a trained mechanic, but this 50 year old is currently building the "Angkor 3".
    Hands up who wants to invest in the car industry?
  • In spite of the expectations, metered taxi's are on the increase, not only in numbers but in use as well. But still waiting for one to turn up might be a bit ambitious, CC believes. I must try them out some time.
  • Make way for the holy cow. Recent improvements riverside have seen 'poor' businessmen see that their encroachment of the pavements not to be tolerated anymore. Irate citizen notes (in today's PPP) that it are cars they need to be packed away.
    'Unfortunately, they ignored the many offensive cars and motorbikes that every day block the passage of pedestrians, forcing them into the road where they face instant oblivion from passing traffic'.
    Give it a week and all we revolve to as it was!
  • Travel advice once more: avoid boats.
    'This is when we discovered that not only were the life vests useless but there was no rear exit, no life rafts, all the windows were welded shut and the bilge pumps did not work'.
    They survived, lost a bit of money, but managed to sell the story to a Canadian newspaper.
  • More travel advice. It just might be possible to avoid the touts in Poipet when on your way to Siem Reap from Bangkok.
    ' "We completely cracked down 100 percent," he said. "This doesn't happen anymore." '
    Seeing is believing? And if so, where have they gone?
  • Is scootering around fun? Apparently so. But take your motorcycle diaries with you:
    'As far as maintenance goes we only had the front wheel bearings replaced, new rear shock absorbers, new battery, chain adjusted and a scheduled oil change'.
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