Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Helmet or fine

Mr miserable in his new crash helmet
I joined the hordes of crash helmet buyers at lunchtime and purchased my first-ever motorbike helmet, as the rush to beat the 1 January deadline becomes ever more frantic. All motorbike riders must be helmeted up from the turn of the new year or the police - who will no doubt be out in force at every street corner and behind every tree - will pull you over and fine you about a dollar under the old traffic law, which they are threatening to finally implement, that requires safety helmets to be worn by all. Up until now I had used a lightweight cycle helmet if I used anything at all, but it makes sense to get myself a proper helmet, purely from a personal safety point of view. There are 4 people killed every day on Cambodia's roads and the majority suffer head injuries, so the traffic law on helmets is a sensible regulation and one which I fully support. I don't support the 500 traffic police in the city using it as a way to supplement their salaries, which they will, but that's another story. One minor concern is how I will be able to recognise a motodop from any other motorbike rider, they were easily identifiable by their peaked caps up til now. How about they are all licensed and they each wear a lightweight coloured vest with the word taxi on the back? As if. Even that won't help them with their non-existent map-reading skills or their inability to understand even the most basic of directions. And don't get me started on the prices the surly guys at the riverfront try and charge you. Whoops, this is turning into a negative rant. Back to the main point, I've got myself a nice blue crash helmet now, it'll hopefully protect my head from injury, as well as acting as a shield from the sun, so that's a bonus already. It'll play havoc with my hairstyle but at my time of life and with so little hair anyway, no-one will notice.


Blogger Andy Brouwer said...

I should've said that my new blue Index helmet wasn't cheap. I could've got one for under $5 but that would've collapsed under the impact from a feather so I went for something more expensive but still not one of those full-face, looking like The Stig from Top Gear type helmets, that I see the trails-bike types racing around Cambodia in.
My motodop travels are usually pretty slow and mundane, either around town or in the countryside, so I've gone for something lighweight to carry but still sturdy enough not to disintegrate on impact...unless I get hit by a two-ton truck of course.
I hate the idea of having to carry my helmet everywhere (my motodop's sensible suggestion was 'get a car') but my safety is paramount, even though its taken the threat of implementing the traffic laws to nudge me into action.

December 30, 2008 3:30 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Andy, thanks for your sense of humour. I know, it seems like in Cambodia, there's always a first time for many things. People will take time to get used to anything new they never experienced before in Cambodia, but, I guest, something or everything has gotten to start somewhere, somehow. Sooner or later, people while get used to it. Remember, when the first ATM was introduced in Cambodia or the first modern escalator was put into use a few years ago, people were oohs and aahs about them because they probably never expected it in Cambodia. Look now, these modern conveniences aren't such a big fuss any longer in Cambodia. So, my point is, people will always react strangely to something they do not expect to have or see, especially in a poor country like Cambodia, but eventually everyone will get used to it. Thank you.

December 31, 2008 12:56 AM  
Anonymous Leakana in Long Beach said...

Hey, your helmet looks great. You should never sacrifice quality for price when it comes to safety, so good call on not getting the under $5 helmets! So everyone has to wear a helmet when riding on a motodop now? Does that mean the taxi guys will provide one for their riders... or will everyone in Cambodia be walking around town with bulky helmets strapped to their heads at all times? What about the babies that sit on the handlebars when a family of four travels through town??? Are there still people crazy enough to do that? I haven't been in Cambodia for a while...

December 31, 2008 12:51 PM  
Blogger Andy Brouwer said...

Families of 6 are not uncommon, having just 4 is for whimps!
We shall see whether the police do in fact take action against all flouters of the law regarding helmets. I've not heard, officially, that passengers have to be helmeted up, it seems sensible but when did sense ever play a part in a policeman's working life over here.
This week I've seen the helmet shops (and incidentally many more have mushroomed overnight) chockablock with people buying helmets, and many of them were for children, so I'll be on the lookout for a family of 6 ALL wearing helmets. Unfortunately some of the helmets will be poor quality and if you have a large family, I can see the parents going for the $3 second-hand Vietnamese helmets for their family members. I hope not.
As for taxi drivers providing helmets, good idea, but fat chance. Some of them don't have two 500 riel notes to rub together let along buy a helmet for their passengers. However it will be interesting whether they will aloow passengers without helmets and how the police will react to that - will they fine the driver or the passenger? More later.

January 1, 2009 2:20 AM  
Blogger Andy Brouwer said...

Thanks to the wag who sent me a note to say I looked like something from Securicor, a British security firm who do van runs throughout Britain to collect money from safety boxes, etc...and their staff all wear similar style helmets for safety reasons. It made me smile, unlike my miserable mug-shot with the helmet.

January 1, 2009 11:39 AM  
Anonymous khexpress said...

This post has been removed by a blog administrator.

January 2, 2009 10:21 AM  
Anonymous khexpress said...

I use helmet to keep my face from the dirt rather than to prevent myself from the accident.

Otherwise, this policy is great!!!
Let's keep the helmet as our reliable friend!!!

[Updated: my site is khexpress.net not .com]

Sorry for confusing...

January 2, 2009 10:55 AM  
Blogger Khan Vanna said...

Your helmet looks steady and heavy as it's more expensive. Most helmets available on the street is around 3$ only.

Anyways, I've used your photo(wearing helmet) at my blog, hope you don't mind.


January 2, 2009 2:31 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Perhaps the title of the post should be "Helmet or face greater likihood of death". The fine shouldn't be the reason you get yourself a helmet!!

January 8, 2009 2:46 PM  
Blogger Andy Brouwer said...

Dear anon,
of course you are right...all motorbike drivers SHOULD wear a helmet for safety reasons. But everyone here has been riding a moto for years without the need so they will be loathe to get a helmet (and spend money which is precious). The fine is just one way of persuading them. The others are education with proper safety training and the results of what happens when you don't wear a helmet.
For years the roads were so bad that you couldn't get up much of a speed so helmets weren't considered necessary. But roads have improved greatly, so have the numbers of cars, trucks and buses on the roads, as well as faster models of motorbikes, etc. To be honest everyone should be made to take a test before they are allowed on the road in anything motorized, but in practice no-one bothers and so there are a high % of drivers who have no real understanding of the correct and safe way to drive. And I don't see that changing for a long time either. So helmets are a must. Next I hope they'll get them to stop at traffic lights!

January 8, 2009 3:53 PM  
Blogger Kimvong said...

Be aware that presently, the traffic police are enforcing the traffic land law on motorbike driver don't wear helmet. for me this one is not my concern what is the main concern for motorbike driver is injury of road traffic accident that cause to be a fatality by driving without helmet.
all kind of helmet, haft face , full face are protect able if you are a good driver, don't break the law.

in Cambodia the main cause of road accident is speeding and than drinking and driving all these happen human error that this error we can protect.
protect your life, wearing helmet;
protect your life, don't drive over speeding
protect your life, don't drinking
and driving


March 13, 2009 1:36 PM  
Blogger KoKoSva said...

Love your helmet ..... it comes with the fashion and it's worth for it lol^^

May 3, 2009 7:57 AM  

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