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Lying on a motorbike: Unsafe position on a busy road?

Update: July, 09/2017 - 09:00
VNS Illustration Trịnh Lập
Viet Nam News

Bảo Hoa

A road in a big city is not a place to relax, even if you’re sitting behind the driver on a motorbike.

But a recent photo of a child, relaxing behind his father on a motorbike on the capital city’s Tây Sơn Street, has had many netizens go "awww" for its presumed “sweetness”.

The photo captures a man in a worn-out shirt riding an old motorbike, with his son lazing behind. The son, who appears to be around six years old, is lying comfortably, with his legs resting on his father’s shoulders and a carton box of milk in his hand.

The child is seated on cushions and his head is resting on a bag inside a steel frame, which could be used to carry goods. There are green cords around him, which appear to be securing him to the motorbike.

The image has melted the hearts of social media users, with many thinking it conveys the sense of peace and security that children feel when they are “protected” by their parents.

“I feel incredibly at ease after looking at this photo. Being with dad is the happiest place on earth,” social media user Xuân Linh wrote.

User Thanh Tùng is reminded of his father who passed away two months ago. “It was not until [I looked at this photo] that I realised how important my father was to me. All of a sudden, I feel jealous of people whose fathers are still alive,” he wrote.

“Try to spend time with your parents, no matter how far you live from them,” he continued. “Don’t be like me – getting so caught up in work that all I can do now is regret it.”

However, some netizens noticed the child was not wearing a helmet and thought he would be fined. That argument, though, could likely be invalid since children under six are not required to wear helmets because they might damage their skulls. In this case, the boy’s age is not certain.

Setting all sentiment aside – the first time I saw the photo, I had chills running down my spine because it seemed dangerous to me to let a child sit in this position on a moving vehicle on such a wide road.

Some 4,000 people died in road accidents in the first half of this year, according to the National Traffic Safety Committee. Some 21,600 road accidents occurred last year, killing approximately 8,700 people and injuring 19,200.

These figures might be all too common since they are mentioned in the news every day. But they are still significant enough to remind us that our roads are not a safe place.

The child is not driving, so the chances of him crashing into someone are low. But accidents are known to happen in the blink of an eye, at times for no fault of our own.

On the afternoon of September 23 last year, on Tân Mai Street, a 10-year-old boy bumped into a tricycle carrying a corrugated roofing sheet while riding his bicycle home from school with his friends. The sheet slit his throat and the boy died from losing too much blood.

Two days later, a 64-year-old woman from Hòa Bình Province died in a similar incident. Bùi Thị Sâm was sitting on the side of a road near the Mai Lĩnh flyover in the capital city’s Hà Đông District awaiting for a bus, when an oxcart carrying several roofing sheets went by. Just then, the cords securing the sheets were broken, the cart crashed into Sâm, and one of the sheets slit her neck.

Accidents, therefore, can occur anywhere – even more so, on a crowded urban road. What if the boy in the photo sat up at the exact moment when a roofing sheet was passing by on a vehicle, like in these two accidents?

That is the reason why, despite finding the photo adorable, I would still prefer the boy to sit up and put his arms around his father’s waist. The position is a lot safer and allows him and his father to be on guard in case of unforeseen “factors”.

Again, roads are not a place to relax . It is our duty to be prepared – mentally and physically – to deal with all types of traffic situations to keep ourselves and others safe. — VNS

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