Some people put the number of motorbikes in Vietnam at 10 million. Others say it could be more like 20 million. Whatever the number, in a population of 86 million people, that’s a helluva lot of motorbikes.
And this many bikes makes for an interesting experience when crossing the road in any Vietnamese city.
It can be quite daunting to take that first step onto a Vietnamese road, so to make the journey from one side of the road to the other a little safer and less scary, here are a few tips.
Step one: Find some locals
Quite understandably, locals know how to cross the road. Don’t be afraid to stalk a local and stick to them as they cross the road. Whether these locals look like they’re at an impossibly uncrossable section of a busy highway or responsibly waiting at the traffic lights, stick to them like glue.
Step two: Take that first step out
Take a deep breath, put your right foot in front of your left, then your left in front of your right, and cross the road. Make strong eye contact with people riding towards you and don’t waver. Let the riders know you’re there.
Step three: Don’t stop – keep going to the other side
It will look like a torrent of motorbike riders is bearing down on you, and it will look like there is no way you’re going to survive this crossing. But whatever you do, don’t stop. Don’t falter in the middle of the road as that’s likely to increase your chances of getting hit. It may not seem possible, but the riders will steer around you.
Step four: Exhale
When you reach the other side of the road, let out that breath that you’ve been holding since you first stepped out. You’ve made it!