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Bangkok Imposes Heavier Fine on Motorbikes Driving on Sidewalk

Bangkok's city government has doubled the THB2,000 (US$65) fine for motorcyclists driving on sidewalks starting August 1.

According to the Bangkok Post, after a meeting between senior officials, the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration (BMA) decided to once again double the fine, from THB1,000 to THB2,000. Despite numerous government campaigns and warnings, many drivers continue to use the city's sidewalks to avoid traffic jams.

A mobile phone app is expected to be developed to assist the police in checking the records of sidewalk drivers.

Last November, a schoolgirl was knocked down by a motorbike traveling on a sidewalk on Lat Phrao Road. The incident stirred debate on the illegal practice, which poses a safety hazard to pedestrians in the city. The BMA shortly thereafter doubled the fine at the time to THB1,000.

The City Law Enforcement department also pays people in Bangkok for tipping the police off to sidewalk riders.

Later, the Bangkok Post also reported that over the past year, more than 20,000 motorcyclists have been caught driving on sidewalks. About 15,000 of them would be held legally responsible, though the THB1,000 fine rate clearly hasn't deterred drivers.

Police Colonel Krisana Patanacharoen, deputy spokesman of the Royal Thai Police Office, told the news source that they had difficulties guaranteeing safety for pedestrians from sidewalk-hogging motorcyclists due to a manpower shortage, particularly during rush hour.

In Vietnam, motorcyclists are also banned from driving on sidewalks. According to VnExpress, violators can be fined from VND300-400,000. If one causes an accident, their driving license will be suspended for two to four months. However, driving on footpaths is still a very common practice that not only poses threats to pedestrians but is also ruining sidewalks in big cities.

[Photo by Jeff Bell via Planet Bell]

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