The Intersection from Hell

The silver SUV and the red motorbike in question.

The other day a motorbike collided with an SUV at a busy intersection near my Hanoi office. I heard about the accident, looked out the window, and saw the vehicle, a motorbike none the worse for wear, two shoes, blood on the street, and a cop checking out the scene. The victim had long since been taken to the hospital, where I hope and pray he survived.

As someone who has driven and walked through this free-for-all many times, I’ve always been amazed that there weren’t more accidents. On a normal day thousands of vehicles, cars, busses, trucks, motorbikes, auto rickshaws (tuk-tuks), cyclos, and bicycles, along with pedestrians and the occasional person in a motorized wheelchair risk life and limb to navigate this chaotic maze.

There are no fewer than five streets that converge on one open area with no stop signs or traffic lights. (You can see each one in the above photos.) They weren’t necessary 10 or 20 years ago but times and traffic conditions have changed.

As you can see, the traffic was pretty light at the time, i.e., midafternoon. You can only imagine what it’s like during the morning and late afternoon/early evening rush hours. That means countless split-second judgement calls without taking into consideration people who are distracted or some other contributing factor, e.g., alcohol.

Let’s hope this intersection is redesigned or that traffic lights are installed to avoid future injuries and deaths.

Shalom (שלום), MAA

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