Global Politics

Vietnam motorcyclists must measure up

Venture out on the streets and the problem is clear: there are a lot of young kids out driving motorbikes against the law, says this American researcher. One in five Vietnamese owns a motorcycle and sometimes it feels as if all of them are crowding the streets. So the Health and Transportation Ministry came up with a new set of laws restricting who can drive a motorcycle and now health and weight is a requirement: you must be at least 88 pounds and at least four feet, seven inches tall, with a chest that measures at least 28 inches. The researcher thinks this is ridiculous, as do newspapers and internet message boards. This woman asked if cops are going to stop and measure her chest on the street. Vietnam is harldy a country of giants; the average man is 5'4� and weighs 120 pounds, while the average woman is just over 5 feet and weighs 100 pounds. That means there are plenty of small, light adults. Drivers licenses can be obtained easily by bribes, as well. Last year some 13,000 people died on the road, mostly involved with motorcycle accidents. A mandatory helmet law has reduced accidents by 20%, but people also pay bribes when they're caught. The new law has been shelved following all the complaints.

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