Anti-motorbike sidewalk barriers stir debate in Ho Chi Minh City

Authorities in downtown Ho Chi Minh City have requested that the installation of anti-motorbike barriers on several sidewalks be reconsidered as they may pose an obstacle to pedestrians.

A pedestrian walks through the barriers on Ly Tu Trong Street in District 1, Ho Chi Minh City.

Authorities in downtown Ho Chi Minh City have requested that the installation of anti-motorbike barriers on several sidewalks be reconsidered as they may pose an obstacle to pedestrians.

The People’s Committee in District 1 has asked the municipal Department of Transport to review the installment of several fences along sidewalks.

The measure was part of the transport department’s effort to prevent motorcyclists from travelling on sidewalks and damaging pavements.

However, the barriers have posed myriad difficulties for pedestrians and even caused some to trip and fall, the District 1 People’s Committee said, quoting the complaints of several residents.

They are also considered an obstacle for the disabled, local administrators said, adding that the barricades had proved ineffective as some motorists continued to zigzag their way through the fences.

The solution had not been approved by the committee, it stated, urging the city’s transport department find a new measure that does not compromise the convenience of pedestrians.

According to the observation of Tuoi Tre (Youth) newspaper reporters on Ly Tu Trong Street, about eight fences, 20 centimeters high, have been placed along a 100 meter section of the sidewalk.

The blockades are made from metal and covered with reflective paint.

However, there are small gaps in between each fence, enough to allow a motorcycle to snake its way through the obstacles.

Le Ngoc Kim, a student from a local university who often walks along the section of the street, said that the barriers have not completly prevented motorists from riding on the pavement, but are still somewhat effective.

“They are not much of an obstacle for me. Pedestrians can walk through the gaps or simply walk over the barriers,” Kim said.

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Motorcyclists zigzag their way through the fences. Photo: Tuoi Tre

Ineffective attempt

At the corner of Ly Tu Trong and Pasteur Street, many commuters were spotted riding their motorbikes on the sidewalk despite the barricades.

“It’s just for saving time,” one man said after being asked why he had driven on the pavement.

Others also seemed to be annoyed that their behavior was noted by the journalists.

According to Ngo Hai Duong, head of Road Infrastructure Management and Exploitation under the transport department, the barriers are a temporary solution.

The Department of Transport will conduct an evaluation of the measure by the end of this month to decide whether it should be implemented in other neighborhoods, Duong said.

He added that traffic police will be dispatched to the locations to deal with those who ride their motorbikes on the sidewalks.

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