Rules of the road in Vietnam: there are none.
One of the things I resolved not to do in Vietnam was ride on a motorbike. The US government travel website advises strongly against it: traffic signals are rare, the roads are congested and polluted, and helmets are flimsy and insufficient.
I can confirm that all of these are true, and can also give several more reasons not to ride motorbikes. For instance, motorbikes don’t have seatbelts.
Since there are no turn signals, you turn left by slowwwwly nudging your way into the opposing traffic lane until they have to stop to let you go.
People weave crazily in and out of traffic.
The roads are always cramped– so some cyclists will cut onto the sidewalk…
…or into the lane of opposing traffic.
Pedestrians here cross the road much like cyclists do left turns: they slowwwwly walk onto the road until cars are forced to stop for them. (And, similar to the US, everyone jaywalks.)
The roads are so smoggy with exhaust that everyone wears masks.
I’ve even heard that people will grab your handbags and purses as you ride on the road.
And finally, the tropical Vietnam is prone to sudden and intense rainstorms. Since everyone litters here, every time it rains, tons of garbage are caught in the water. The trash then clogs the sewers, causing muddy water to flood the streets:
So, all in all, riding a motorbike in Vietnam should be a hair-raising, terrifying experience. We’re not quite up to American standards, that’s for sure. I shouldn’t even want to go near the things.
So why is riding motorbikes here so damn fun?
It’s honestly my favorite way to travel.