Commuter Accident

As we went on our hike near Sapa, Vietnam, we noticed that a lot of people from the villages around the town would come to the town center to do business. I think what’s interesting to note was the mode of transportation that we saw on the road. Once in a while we saw passenger minivans (Ford Transit), which seem to be used either to carry tourists on a tour, or for long distance ride to other towns (e.g., to Lao Cai). We also saw people walking. But the more common ones seem to be people riding motorcycles (small cc bikes — they are more scooters). I think what’s impressive was to think that these little scooters were probably built more for urban use (e.g. in flat city like Hanoi), not for mountainous, and in some areas, unpaved roads. Also sometimes people carry heavy load / cargo on the back, or they would have three people riding on the same scooter.

As we walk out of the Sapa town center, it started to drizzle a little bit. The grounds were already quite wet and somewhat muddy; looked like leftovers from the day before. I was glad we’re ready for it. We knew from reading about the climate that during the winter season, it could rain a lot in the area (and in higher elevation, it could even snow). So we were ready with our jackets that had hoods and with boots that could be fine even going through muddy terrains.

As we walked close to a curve on the slippery and wet road, we saw a scooter passing by with passenger on the back carrying several plastic bags. They tried to maneuver as there was another scooter coming from the opposite direction. With the slippery surface, and curving, incline road, we saw right in front of our eyes an accident happening. The driver of the scooter lost balance and control and he and his passenger started sliding on the muddy road. The scooter in the opposite direction fortunately was able to avoid crashing into them. Good news was that none of them seemed to be hurt since the whole thing happened at low speed. A couple of motorbikers stopped to help them collect their belongings, and in few minutes, they were off and continued their trip — dirty, but at least not hurt.

I took the photo below as the accident had just happened and they were trying to get back on their feet.


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