Vietnam’s cities are famed for the thousands of motorcycles that swarm through the streets.
But this scene could be about to come to an end, as the country’s government considers a ban on riding motorbikes in city centres.
Thanh Nien News reported this week that Vietnam’s Deputy Prime Minister, Nguyen Xuan Phuc, is pushing to impose a motorbike ban in major cities, in a bid to combat the growing problems of traffic congestion and road safety.
“There should be detailed and breakthrough solutions, including a plan to gradually ban motorbikes in big cities,” Phuc was reported saying. He added that Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City should improve their public transport networks and limit the number of private vehicles in the cities.
Vietnam is home to more than 37 million motorbikes, making them the country’s most common means of transport. And according to VTC News, Vietnam’s National Traffic Safety Committee (NTSC) proposed a motorbike ban two years ago, but the Transport Ministry decided not to proceed due to public opposition. Nguyen Hoang Hiep, deputy chairman of NTSC, said it would be impossible to ban motorbikes quickly.
“It is impossible because of undeveloped economics, lack of infrastructure and insufficient public transport,” he was quoted saying, adding that such as ban could be imposed between 2020 and 2025, if public transport is improved.
But with major urban rail projects currently underway in both Hanoi and HCMC, the motorbike ban could be in the pipeline sooner rather than later.