Thursday, August 20, 2009

Confessions on a motobike: Part 2

With my confidence high, life on the roads of Hanoi was nothing but pleasure while darting around the busy streets. Feeling more and more comfortable with the traffic conditions it seemed the world or at least the city was my oyster. Celine and I were on a trip to the West Lake, the largest lake in the northwest of Hanoi when reality sunk in. We negotiated some back streets in the area catching a great view of the lake, admiring some of the grand houses in the area and watching the tranquil setting of the locals fishing.

On our return to the main road which took us back into the city we approached a corner completely blind to any oncoming traffic. To the left of us was a house which sat right on the corner of the road. In front of us just off the road was a number of women standing and chatting. As I approached the corner I did two things that were wrong. The first which has been my main fault while in Hanoi is when turning left I veer to the wrong side of the road. This is by no means a small error. Everywhere else has been ok but this shortfall I have yet to master and hence my undoing. The second thing was a lack of response to the all too familiar BEEP. As I approached the corner I remember hearing the horn of the approaching bike, letting any oncoming traffic know he was there. I did not register the sound however remember hearing it. As I rounded the corner there was a bike staring me in the face. I tried to swerve around him instead taking Celine, the laptops (never leave home with out them :) ) and I into the dirt. The mirror smashed, oil started to leak, the women rushed to our side, concerned and passing commentary to each other. The other driver stopped to see if we were ok. We were. Celine was unscathed, thankfully, the laptops were intact and I nursed a grazed knee and a sore wrist.

All in all it was a lucky escape and a good reminder that you are never invincible on the road: especially in Hanoi. We dusted ourselves off and headed home waving goodbye to the women. “Hello” one of them said smiling and waving us goodbye. We laughed and headed home to let our host family know that only after a few days on the road we crashed their moto.
Some traffic statistics for Hanoi that I found on an online article are below. This is for the 2007/2008 financial year:

According to official statistics, there were around 15,000 road accidents in Vietnam last year, killing 13,200 people and injuring 10,500. That’s an average of 36 deaths and 29 injuries a day. Most deaths and injuries occurred to people aged between 15 and 49.

Thought of the day: Wear a helmet, ride safely, listen and embrace the BEEP and drive on the bloody correct side of the road.
Dan explique qu’il commençait a se sentir de plus en plus en confiance en moto, lorsque nous avons décidé d’aller faire un tour vers West Lake, et la réalité l’a rattrapé. On a pris un virage du mauvais cote de la rue et nous sommes retrouves nez a nez avec une moto arrivant en sens inverse. On s’est pris une gamelle, mais a part un bobo au genou pour Dan, rien de grave. Dan a trouve un article sur Internet donnant le statistique suivantes : 15,000 accidents de la route l’année dernière au Vietnam, entrainant 13,200 décès et 10,500 blesses. Ceci donne une moyenne de 36 morts et 29 blesses par jour. Sa pensée du jour : Il faut porter un casque, bien écouter les klaxons (on commence la comprendre la fonction du bip bip, ce n’est pas si décousu que ca. Parfois si quand même.) et bien conduire du bon cote de la route !

1 comment:

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