Is Vietnam's Battle Against Motorbikes Doomed to Fail?

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Vietnam’s Communist party is stepping up an undeclared war on the motorcycle – with Ho Chi Minh City the latest conurbation to plan radical curbs on its swarming scooter traffic.

The authorities in Hanoi were first to take the offensive against the country’s favourite means of transportation, announcing plans in June to ban motorbikes altogether within 13 years.

The plan immediately sparked a backlash, with many seeing it as a direct attack on the habits and livelihood of millions of citizens.

8,000 new bikes hit the streets every day

The vast flocks of small calibre scooters that surge through city streets and back alleys are one of the most unforgettable sights of modern Vietnam.

Apart from its practical uses, the bike is also a much loved symbol of personal freedom in an authoritarian country where a sprawling security apparatus tries to keep tabs on all citizens.

The Communist party’s plans to restrict its use can only lead to further resentment of a leadership already seen by many as out of touch and remote from the concerns of ordinary people.

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