Hundreds fined as Saigon puts the brakes on sidewalk driving

Over 100 motorbike riders in Ho Chi Minh City were fined on Wednesday for driving on sidewalks as the local administration looks to reestablish order on its streets

An urban order management officer pulls over a man for driving on the sidewalk.

The administration of District 1, Ho Chi Minh City is cooperating with traffic police and urban order management in its campaign to put an end to sidewalk-driving in the city’s downtown area.

Local police camped out on Nguyen Binh Khiem Street and the Ly Tu Trong-Nguyen Trung Truc intersection in District 1 between 4:00 pm and 6:00 pm on Wednesday, looking to book anyone riding on sidewalks to avoid traffic congestion.

A total of 108 riders were stopped over the course of two hours, with each violation carrying a VND350,000 (US$15.63) fine and a temporary driver’s license confiscation.

Some violating riders got off their motorbikes or made a U-turn upon seeing law enforcers, while others pretended to stop by a nearby house to justify their offense.

Doan Ngoc Hai, deputy chairman of the District 1 People’s Committee, said district authorities would continue their campaign until order is restored to the city’s streets and the sidewalks are returned to their initial purpose of serving pedestrians.

“It is a danger to pedestrians and an eyesore to foreign tourists for motorbikes to roam freely on the sidewalk,” Hai said. “Some violators asked to be let go without a fine as it was their first offense, but we insisted on using the law as deterrence. Only when each citizen is aware of and follows the law can our city become civilized.”

The municipal Department of Transport stirred debate earlier this month when it installed fences and anti-motorbike barriers on multiple pedestrian walkways in District 1.

A woman gets off and pretends to sit on her motorbike upon seeing authorities ahead. Photo: Tuoi Tre

A violator signs his fining report. Photo: Tuoi Tre

A motorcyclist tries to break away from law enforcement, arguing that he did not not drive on the sidewalk. Photo: Tuoi Tre

A traffic police officer pulls over a violating motorcyclist. Photo: Tuoi Tre

Authorities book violators. Photo: Tuoi Tre

Some motorcyclists persist despite the presence of authorities. Photo: Tuoi Tre

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