Viet Nam News
By Thu Hằng
On the weekend, my family and I were on a motorbike on our way to Hà Nội’s famed Hoàn Kiếm Lake. Suddenly, my husband and I started at the sound of the engine roaring behind us. I turned back and saw a young man in dark dress riding a super bike, speeding up and zigzaging through a line of vehicles, before disappearing from sight.
It’s not just me. Many people have told me of being startled by the noise of motorbikes with a big engine capacity.
Owning a powerful bike is a passion of those who love speed. However, in big cities like Hà Nội and HCM City, where motorbikes and cars fill up every bit of road space in rush hour, such bikes are an annoyance.
“Sometimes, I see them on the big motorbikes, driving like crazy with ear shattering noise. They are showing off, playing ‘can’t catch me’," said Hồ Quang Hà, a resident of the capital’s Long Biên District.
He said stock motor vehicles are generally designed to operate as quietly as possible. The only reason to modify them and make them louder is to magnify the ego of the rider. “If you want to ride loud, go to a racetrack,” Hà added.
According to statistics, the number of motor bikers with licensed super bikes has increased rapidly since the Ministry of Transport issued a circular on October 24, 2013 abolishing restrictions on such bike licences.
Seizing this opportunity, manufacturers and distributors have also stepped up their production to meet the demand for super bikes at affordable prices. Riders can now buy a super bike of Yamaha or Suzuki at a price equivalent to a motor-scooter.
Not only do these two-wheeled machines annoy other road users, many of their empowered riders ignore the traffic laws. “I’ve seen bikes ignoring all road signs. They drive whichever way they want. It could endanger others on the road,” said Nguyễn Mai Thanh, 38, of Hoàn Kiếm District.
Riders of sports motorbikes should be taught to follow traffic rules, she said. “I don’t agree with the move of the ministry,” Thanh said.
Trần Tố Mai, the owner of a clothing shop near Nguyễn Khoái Street, said she doesn’t like powerfull bikes. “Every day, most Hanoians live and breathe smoke. They choke on motorbike and car exhaust fumes in traffic jams. How can we live with more fumes and noise from sport motorbikes?” Mai asked.
Moreover, many models of bikes are not really suitable for Việt Nam. Most are manufactured for riders over 1.75m tall, whereas many Vietnamese are of more modest physique and their slight body on such a powerful machine is risky. “Are they strong enough to ride on them,” a man shared his thought on a Facebook group.
Captain Nguyễn Tuấn Cường, the deputy head of Hà Nội’s traffic police, told Hà Nội Mới (New Hà Nội) newspaper that his team discovered many super bikes of unknown origin.
Ride your big bike, if you like. But know that you’re subject to the same traffic laws and expectations of courtesy as everyone else, a police official said.
Trương Mạnh Tuấn, owner of a motorbike repair shop on Lĩnh Nam Road, said most people don’t have the money to buy a motorbike with big engine capacity. “In some cases, bikers buy cheap bikes because they love the idea, even though they do not know about the quality of the bikes,” he said. Bad quality affects the operation of the bikes and could result in accidents, Tuấn added.
Many experts in the transport sector said the testing and training of super bike drivers is not consistent with the reality of urban traffic in Việt Nam. Most of the roads, particularly the inner city streets, are not suitable for such vehicles.
Everyone needs to accelerate momentarily now and then to avoid a hazard or get around a slow mover. But many of the super bikes I see are driving well in excess of the speed limit, constantly weaving in and out of traffic and creating unnecessary hazards.
Is it really necessary to show off the wonderful driving ability on a big bike in a dense street? - VNS