New Helmet Law in Vietnam Successful

I remember back in August, 2004, the Vietnamese government tried to enforce the helmet law in the whole country. It ended up failing within the cities since the people protest. Instead, the Vietnamese government forced people riding on the highways to wear helmets. People living in cities did not have to wear a helmet unless you were riding on a highway.

To be honest, I was not sure if the new law would be successful. Saturday morning when I drove to my meeting, I was surprised to be quite honest. It was strange to see everyone, including the little kids, wearing helmets. According to VietnamNet Bridge, nearly 99 percent of people complied with the new law in Saigon. That is good news.

The bad news, it seems that the majority of people were wearing their helmets incorrectly. I saw many loose chin straps, helmets way too big. Most of us are wearing half-helmets which leave our ears uncovered so we can hear the traffic so a tight chin strap is crucial. My helmet, purchased from Taiwan, does an okay job but I am constantly tightening the strap after each use. Not good.

I just hope I never get into an accident…

Read Most obey helmet law on first day

Helmet Law in Saigon

(Image source: VietnamNet Bridge)

  • JJ

    Approximately 12,000 Vietnamese died in traffic accidents in the first 11 months of this year, with motorbikes causing 75% of the accidents, according to statistics from the Ministry of Transport. Half of all the casualties had brain injuries. -vietnamnet

    sobering fact. If helmets save at least one life, it will be a successful campaign.

  • itdoesntmatter

    agreed i went to visit vietnam this summer and i almost got hit by a motorbike…i was lucky the bike stopped in time… the guy was like “do you want to die?” lol

  • Ken

    JJ, does the ministry specified whether those deaths were on the highway or within the city limits?

  • @Ken: That is a good question, one that many Vietnamese ask themselves. How many are alcohol related as well?

  • JJ

    People are always resistant to change, even if its for the obvious better.

    I remember the seat belt law and the no smoking indoor law.

    It makes me laugh to hear the excuses people have for not wearing a helmet.

    1) the speeds are too slow in the city.
    2) helmets are making it more dangerous because it obstructs my vision.
    3) i heard of this one guy that fell with a helmet on and it shattered and it punctured his head.

    etc etc..

  • @JJ: I remember when I started to Rollerblade. On the first day, I did not wear any protection on my body. When I rolled out of my apartment in Seattle on my new K2 inline skates, I fell and scraped my knees. That night I bought some knee pads.

    The next day I went out with my friend on the Burke-Gilman Trail and, umm, fell on my hands and elbow scrapping both us. That night I bought some wrist guards and elbow pads.

    All along my early roller blading days, I did in fact wear a helmet. Why? Well, my head remembers very well the day I was ice skating in the Mall of Memphis in Tennessee. My feet went out from under me, I landed head on with the ice and got a concussion. Hence when I started roller blading, I wore my helmet 🙂

    People will get used to helmets.

  • Ken

    @JJ: it is true that a high percentage of the helmets sold in Vietnam are not up to safety standard, which could do more harm than good. I’ll be bringing a helmet back to Vietnam, just for that peace of mind. I only raised the above question because it has been raised by many Vietnamese themselves.

    @Kevin: I still don’t wear a helmet or any type of gear when I go rollblading at the beach as I have never fell that hard on my rollblade. I guess one can only learn from experience.

  • @Ken: I just had someone tell me the same about the helmets in Vietnam doing more harm then good. If you look at many of the helmet safety posters around the town, notice where the injuries occur, in areas not protected by the helmet, ie. the face. I never realized that until I was told. Strange…

    Going down hills, as in Seattle, it is probably better to wear a helmet and other protective gear. The Burke-Gilman Trail along Lake Washington goes up and down hills. Really enjoyable going from the UW to Woodinville by rollerblades 🙂

  • I think places like Vietnam and China were there’s ton of people riding bike should be more educated about Helmet. Even though you have a helmet but if you wear it incorrectly, its no use.

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