Crossing Cambodia

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Chasing cars, January 27, 2010

Helmet or not?

As reported on many prior occasions in this blog, the Phnom Penh Post (20 Jan. 2010) managed to get on the message that the helmet law enforcement is far from perfect:
'Despite the heavy publicity campaigns that were tied to the amendment’s adoption, compliance has been lacklustre, and it has failed to reduce the number of traffic fatalities over the past 12 months, according to government statistics'.
Well, let's just say that
those statistics are good enough to spot trends. HIB, the NGO leading traffic safety in Cambodia, now says that change can take years, though Crossing Cambodia suspect that the failure to grasp law and law implementation are more immediate issues.
Increasingly over the last years judiciary and judicial systems have been used to enforce power to the rulers rather than something impartial backed up with law and jurisdiction.
Naturally this attitude is picked up even at the lowest levels of government enforcers. Last Saturday a motorcyclist was apprehended despite wearing a helmet and having mirrors while just a few seconds later a helmet less soldier slowly passed unobstructed the same checkpoint. Moral of this story? Become untouchable.

Anyway the focus of law implementation has briefly changed to:
  • - unlicensed driving schools (what happened to the more the merrier?),
  • - street vendors on Sisowath
    ('“I will move my stall back from the street, closer in to the building, but many vendors will not comply,” he said. “They paid money to the police to keep their businesses open as usual tomorrow.”')
  • - and trucks in Siem Reap
    ('He [ the deputy director of the provincial Department of Public Works and Transport] did not specify a specific weight limit for trucks, saying that individual police officers would be tasked with determining which ones were overloaded and could potentially damage the roads'.)
  • Vietnam Airline hopes Hanoi will become a hub for tourists from / to Cambodia. Odd this ambition, if the airline doesn't even fly direct between the capitals of these neighbouring countries ...
  • Hot on the heels of the Poipet bus terminal which means passengers need to pay an entrance fee, the already very uncompetitive boats believe that this is the future:
    'It is hoped a new 15-by-35 square-metre hub will clean up the look of the port serving the roughly 70 to 80 passengers a day that use the existing terminal. Foreigners will be charged $1 to use the facility, he said.
    This decline [in tourist traffic in the port] was steeper than the overall decline in air arrivals to Cambodia – which fell just under 12 percent in the first 11 months – suggesting that tourists were increasingly choosing not to travel by boat, instead opting for more cost-effective modes of transport'.
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