Authorities in Hanoi are scratching their heads amidst confusion over how to deal with dilapidated motorcycles which pose a threat to both traffic and environmental safety.
Authorities are beginning to worry that a large number of outdated motorbikes in the Vietnamese capital have been pushed well beyond their limits, leading them to become potential catalysts for road accidents and environmental contamination.
Many believe authorities are making the right call in removing these outdated vehicles from the streets, though no specific law that determine whether or not motorbikes are actually dilapidated.
According to Nguyen Duc Chung, chairman of the municipal People’s Committee, about 2.5 million of the six million motorbikes in Hanoi were registered before 2005.
Authorities in the capital city will review several measures to retrieve used motorcycles, as air and water pollution have reached alarming levels in the city, each of which have been exacerbated by vehicle exhaust.
A probe by Tuoi Tre (Youth) newspaper showed that many vehicles in Hanoi were registered prior to the year 2000, many of which are owned by porters at local markets.
The initiative has caught many local residents off guard, leaving many unsure over whether their vehicles would be subject to the removal by authorities.
Nguyen Thi Hoa, residing in Dan Phuong District, owner of a Honda Cub 82 bought in 1995, affirmed that her vehicle was still in good shape.
“I bring it in for regular maintenance and use it as the main vehicle for my daily job and activities,” Hoa said.
Nguyen Van Hung, a resident from Phu Xuyen District, said that he uses his Honda Dream, purchased in 1998, as his work vehicle to transport pork to downtown areas on a daily basis.
An old and degraded motorbike is used to transport goods in District 8, Ho Chi Minh City. Photo: Tuoi Tre
Hung admitted that his vehicle is relatively degraded and releases an excessive amount of exhaust, before adding that it is his only form of transportation.
Nguyen Tuan Quan, an owner of a nearly 20-year-old bike, asserted that authorities could not base their decisions on bike quality based on the age of the motorbike.
“Some old bikes owned by motorcycles enthusiasts are still in good shape,” Quan explained.
According to an official from the Vietnam Register, no legal document has been established to promulgate motorbike lifespan.
The proposal from Hanoi authorities is a good measure to ensure traffic safety and protect the environment, the official said, adding that it would only e viable after certain adjustments are made to the current traffic laws.
Meanwhile, the Traffic Police Division in Ho Chi Minh City stated that most dilapidated motorcycles are reassembled by their owners in order to extend its lifespan.
In such cases, local officers based their decisions to fine offenders on a government decree that prohibits the illegal reassembling of vehicles.
Accordingly, violators are subject to a fine of between VND800,000 (US$34.9) and VND1 million ($43.7), while their vehicles are also confiscated and driving licenses are suspended for one to three months.