Sidewalks across Ho Chi Minh City are being continuously degraded by motorcyclists.
Driving down sidewalks and promenades has become common practice for motorcyclists in the southern hub, causing considerable damage to the walkways.
According to the observation of Tuoi Tre (Youth) newspaper reporters, sidewalks along many sections of Pham Van Dong Street in Thu Duc, Binh Thanh, and Go Vap Districts are in serious need of upgrades only four years after the road opened to traffic.
At the intersection of Phan Van Tri with Le Quang Dinh Streets in Binh Thanh District, countless sidewalk tiles along the streets are broken or separated from the ground, forcing pedestrians to navigate their way through uneven pathways and hidden traps.
|Tiles on the promenade of Pasteur Street are broken into pieces. Photo: Tuoi Tre|
Nguyen Thai Son Roundabout in Go Vap District and Cong Hoa and Truong Chinh Streets in Tan Binh District are, unfortunately, in a similar state.
To prevent injuries to pedestrians, local residents have filled many of the gaps with cement and placed broken sidewalk tiles against nearby trees, creating an eyesore for the neighborhood.
Sidewalks along major streets such as Nam Ky Khoi Nghia and Pasteur in District 1 and District 3, despite being paved with high-quality granite tiles, are also in a state of disrepair.
The problem is mainly attributed to the hundreds, if not thousands, of commuters who often ride their motorcycles on promenades, particularly near major intersections.
Rather than wait in long lines at traffic lights, many commuters traveling through busy intersections drive onto the sidewalk to cut the line and shorten their commute.
|Broken tiles are gathered at a tree on a sidewalk in Ho Chi Minh City. Photo: Tuoi Tre|
The situation is exacerbated during rush hours and other times when many of the city’s streets are prone to extreme congestion.
The presence of traffic police on heavily congested roads is no deterrence for sidewalk drivers.
As sidewalks are not designed to endure pressure from such a large number of motorbikes, the tiles break quite quickly.
According to Nguyen Tan Dat, a resident on Pham Van Dong Street, the damage to the sidewalk is caused mostly by inconsiderate motorcyclists.
Some shops and diners along the street let their customers park their motorbikes on the footpaths, which destroys the walkways, Dat added.
|Uneven footpaths pose hidden threats for local residents. Photo: Tuoi Tre|
Vo Khanh Hung, deputy director of the municipal Department of Transport, stated that sidewalks are managed by authorities of their corresponding districts.
Local businesses are typically permitted to use certain areas of the sidewalk, while the rest is meant to be used exclusively for pedestrians, Hung said.
However, some people choose to violate the regulations and occupy the entire promenades.
“The transport department has ordered a comprehensive inspection to deal with the issue,” the official continued.
According to the current law, those who ride their motorbikes on sidewalks shall be fined VND300,000 (US$13.22) to VND400,000 ($17.62).