Two men drive on an old, deteriorated motorbike on Ho Chi Minh City street on August 6, 2012 Photo: Tuoi Tre
In this combined picture, drivers are seen using old motorbikes on Ho Chi Minh City streets
" style="display:none"> In this combined picture, drivers are seen using old motorbikes on Ho Chi Minh City streets
Old motorbikes are likely to be removed from the roads as Ho Chi Minh City authorities have considered establishing minimum standards for vehicles to be eligible for circulation, and an expiry date for their duration of use.
Developed by the city’s traffic police agency and relevant agencies, the bill will set a maximum duration for which a motorbike is allowed to be used.
“The regulation will help reduce traffic accidents and pollution,” said Tran Thanh Tra, deputy head of the PC67 unit under the city’s Department of Public Security.
Tra said there are currently regulations targeting the duration of use of trucks and buses, so it is time motorbikes were subject to similar rules.
One of the main causes of traffic accidents are the “blind motorbikes,” whose origins are unknown and license plates are never placed, said the policeman.
“Police fail to seize or detain these vehicles as there are currently no regulations on how old a motorbike should be in order to be banned from traveling on the street,” he explained.
In this combined picture, drivers are seen using old motorbikes on Ho Chi Minh City streets. (Tuoi Tre)
However, according to Associate Professor and Doctor Pham Xuan Mai, the issue is not as simple as it seems.
“While it is easy to check the age of new motorbikes via their frame and engine numbers, it is not that easy for old vehicles whose frames and engines have been changed or upgraded,” said Mai, who is from the HCMC University of Technology.
Mai added that the circulation validity should not be calculated based on the years of use, as many people seldom drive their bikes.
“It should be calculated based on the number of kilometers traveled,” he suggested.
Duong Hong Thanh, deputy director of the HCMC Department of Transport, said the most important thing to do is to focus on vehicle emissions, rather than their valid duration of use.
“Emission checks should be conducted on a regular basis, so that those who collect old motorbikes which have been driven for dozens of years can still use their vehicles if they meet emission standards,” he said.
Meanwhile, motorbike users are also concerned by the draft regulation.
With motorbike taxi drivers, or xe om, as they are called, the vehicle is more than a means of transportation. It is their source of income.
“Tightened regulations on motorbikes’ duration of use may affect xe om like us, so we hope that the government will clearly consider it before legalizing the bill,” said Phan Nguyen Du, a xe om in Phu Nhuan District.
Meanwhile, his “colleague” Nghi Cam Tuong, who frequents Ba Thang Hai Street in District 10, said motorbikes do not necessarily break down after being used for a long time, and should thus be ineligible for the proposed law.
“The key factor is how the driver takes care of his bike,” he said. “Good care and maintenance can help a motorbike run normally after 15 – 20 years.”
Moreover, bike quality also depends on their manufacturers, and prices, he added.
“I’ve been using my bike since 1998 without any problems,” he said, while kick-starting his Korea-made Citi motorbike to prove that it is still in good condition.