Part 3 - DEATH TRAPS IN
PHNOM PENH CAUSE DEATHS
D. J. Ken - National Radio Text Service
It takes a death to put into perspective how dangerous it is for pedestrians in Cambodia particularly in Phnom Penh to be forced to walk in the streets when automobiles are permitted to park of the sidewalks
Phnom Penh, Cambodia
Wednesday August 18, 2010
DEATHS ON THE LINE
When a tourist shops around to travel to an area their personal safety is a major factor in their decision making in planning a trip. It takes a death to put into perspective how dangerous it is for pedestrians in Cambodia particularly in Phnom Penh to be forced to walk in the streets when automobiles are permitted to park of the sidewalks.
Additionally businesses place tables, chairs and park motos there and homes erect barriers of trees, bushes and construct cement dividers on the pavement. In a civilized nation the sidewalks are meant for people to walk on.
The danger of having to walk in the streets of Phnom Penh was pointed out in the August 16 issue (page 32) of the Cambodia Daily. The Daily reported a story of a drunken 21-year-old male hit and run driver losing control of his car and hitting a moto taxi at 4:30 PM on Norodom Boulevard near the heavily trafficked tourist area of the Independence Monument. A woman passenger was reported to have died at the scene and the moto driver who is in a COMA was taken to Calmette Hospital. In trying to run from the scene the drunken driver ran into an SUV thus he was stopped and caught.
The time of day is a major factor for a dangerous situation since that is also the vicinity of the University of Cambodia and Pannasastra Universities and traffic is heavy. Many students are coming and going to and from day and night classes at universities in the area as well as people on the road traveling to their homes from work.
How many deaths will it take for the pavements to be clear of cars so pedestrians and tourists can have a safe place to walk? Are pedestrians to be put at the mercy of drunken drivers by having to walk in the streets?
We have witnessed two hit and runs. One was where a student was hit around 4PM also on Norodom Boulevard at Street 380. The student was driving near the curb in the right lane and going straight. The hit and run driver and a right turn from Norodom on to street 380 and crushed the girl and drive on. We yelled out for the driver to stop but he was busy talking and laughing with his young lady friend. We took down his license plate number and gave it to the police who spoke no English.
On another occasion two girls on a moto were hit and run on street 57 near a where a mini mart is located. The mini mart had the sidewalk filled with tables, chairs and motorcycle parking. People are forced to walk in the street. The girls were hit and run within a minute after we walked through that intersection.
As we heard the roar of an oncoming vehicle we turned to look and witnessed the accident. Fortunately they didn't seem to be hurt that badly as they got up and lifted their moto to observe the damage as the hit and run driver sped on. The point being the hit and run driver could care less about the girls after being careless. As we say TIC, TIC, TIC (THIS IS CAMBODIA)
In America cars parked on the sidewalk would be towed away and for the owner to retrieve it from the impound lot would cost them at least $50. A parking ticket costs $50 in many areas. It's against the law to walk in the streets in metropolitan areas of America. A jaywalking ticket can cost $50 and in some cases your driving license taken away when it's your third driving offense. Jaywalking is considered and driving moving violation.
The combination of drunk hit and run driving, parking on sidewalks being permitted and no enforcement of the law makes Phnom Penh a dangerous place for tourists.
Ignorance is no excuse as there are many present and past officials in government who have studied in America or traveled to Western nations where parking on the sidewalks is an offense. Their experiences and knowledge can be of value of how procedures and laws can be out into place to protect pedestrians and the tourists they hope to attract to spend money in their country.
We're noticing high sidewalks being built. It's doubtful that they are to deter parking on the sidewalk as many NGO's including the UN have taken sidewalk space and marked it for parking. So why the high curbs? Our opinion is to keep the flooding water off their premises when heavy rains come pouring down. It gets to be knee deep in many places in NGO land where the homeowners are well healed including government officials and can afford the curb upgrade. Since the Khmers are so enterprising in wanting to make money a good business would be the axle, tyrod and bushing repair shop.
Part 4 - More Shoppers Guide - Internet Woes
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