An extremely common question people ask me is:
Is it dangerous to ride a motorbike in Vietnam?
The answer might surprise you – no.
It’s not really that dangerous to ride a motorbike in Vietnam. In fact, I find it safer than riding one in the US because Vietnamese drive slow AND look out for 2 wheeled vehicles.
Furthermore, Expats that don’t ride a motorbike (or drive a car) are massive pussies.
Thankfully, this is not something you see very much of because most expats know how to ride a motorbike. The non-motorbike riding guys we used to see were almost always tourists.
Anyway, here are some reasons you’re a pussy if you don’t ride a motorbike in Vietnam.
It’s Not That Dangerous
The biggest reason expats and tourists don’t ride a motorbike here is because they beLIEve it’s dangerous.
It is a little dangerous if you don’t know what you’re doing. Traffic comes at you in all directions, people don’t look before turning, buses and trucks seemingly don’t stop for anyone, bikes stop in the middle of the road, people turn right from the left lane, and the margin for error is small because Vietnamese don’t give you much space.
But it’s really not that dangerous in the city. Drive slow, don’t hit whatever is in front of you, and yield to trucks, buses, and cars.
That should prevent about 95% of accidents. Of course, there is that 5% that you can’t prevent like a truck losing its brakes and crashing into you.
Frankly, everyone who says riding a motorbike in Saigon is dangerous has no idea what they’re talking about and can be ignored.
Tourists don’t know what they’re talking about because of a form of Dunning-Kruger effect, but expats that have lived here for years should know better than to spout that nonsense at me.
I’ve seen little kids, midgets, old people, disabled people, drunk guys, families of four, guys carrying full size refrigerators/sofas/motorbikes, and even a partially blind guy (Ba Ria not HCMC) riding motorbikes or bicycles in Vietnam – it’s not that difficult.
All those factors do explain why it can be a a little dangerous to drive here, though.
Note: I was getting my bike fixed in Ba Ria. The mechanic and I were drinking hot tea while his cute wife worked on my bike (lol). Some old guy on a tuk-tuk pulled up and the mechanic walked over, grabbed his arm, guided him to our bench, and poured him a hot tea…
THE GUY WAS PARTIALLY BLIND AND DRIVING A TUK TUK. He couldn’t even find his teacup and almost missed the bench for fuck’s sake. It was sitcom-tier stuff.
Hence the reason that expats that don’t ride a motorbike are massive pussies.
Bribe The Police
Another common reason expats don’t ride motorbikes is because they don’t have a Vietnamese driver’s license…
Do you have 200k ($9) in your pocket?
Good. You now have a Vietnamese driver’s license that is valid everywhere other than that infamous police checkpoint in Mui Ne.
Shit, I got pulled over in District 2 a few months ago, played dumb, and the cops let me go after a few minutes without asking for a bribe.
It really is that in easy in Vietnam. Granted, if you get in a bad accident without a license, then you’re screwed. But #YOLO.
Again, expats should know this. Tourists don’t really how things work here, so they get a free pass on that one.
Women Suck at Driving
Ok. Even the soyest of soyboys knows this one, even if it’s only at a subconscious level.
Women, especially Asian women, suck at driving.
They aren’t as strong, have a slower reaction time, and worse decision making in emergency situations than men.
Frankly, I’ve never met a Vietnamese woman that can handle a motorbike better than myself. Due to that, I always ride the bike with her riding pillion, even if I’m drunk and she’s stone cold sober.
What kind of pansy would allow a creature as delicate as a Vietnamese female drive a motorbike in a Vietnamese city?
Driving a motorbike, like showers and hunting, is the territory of men. Women take bubble baths while thinking of puppies.
Despite this, you still see Vietnamese women zipping around on their Vespa or Honda Lead with some white guy on the back.
I just don’t even…
How many times do you see these delicate creatures riding a motorbike with a Vietnamese guy riding pillion?
Pretty much never. The few times you do see this strange sight it’s probably a Viet Kieu that is essentially not Vietnamese.
You’ll also notice everyone looking and smirking at this strange sight. Vietnamese know the score.
To further add to this point, Vietnamese women hate when they have to drive a guy around. They like to wrap their arms around their man or play on their phone while he deals with all the nonsense on the road.
They’re women – their consciousness only looks inward. In other words, they want to look pretty and be bossed around by a guy.
Decision making, like the previously mentioned showers and hunting, is the territory of men.
GrabBike Drivers Suck
If you don’t have your Vietnamese female drive you around, then that’s good. But do you rely on Grab/Gojek bike drivers?
These guys are usually better at physically driving a bike than women – they have better reaction time and handling. Of course, that’s assuming you don’t have 70+ year old grandpa driving you around on his Honda Dream.
However, a lot of these young Grab drivers make terrible decisions because they overestimate their riding skill.
I’m talking about slowly going in front of a speeding truck, causing it to slam on the brakes, swerve, and barely miss pancaking the driver and I.
Yeah, that happened to me on a Grab.
Another time my Grab driver ran a red light and clipped someone’s rear wheel. Thankfully, the other person fell down and we rode off into the mess of traffic as they yelled obscenities at us.
Grab drivers fucking suck. You’re better off taking your chances riding your own bike than relying on some of those drivers.