The traffic getting out of the city is just awful, sometimes I am just not in the mood for so much adventure, and I just want that everything runs smoothly, but that will never happen in this city.
For those of you who plan to ride a motorcycle in Cambodia here are gain the:
Rules, Regulations and Observations of Cambodian Traffic:
1. There are no rules, the few which do exist are not obeyed. However, in case you intend to “Do-as-the Romans-do”, you will get stopped and fined. This is the way the poorly paid police force improves on their salary. The fines collected go directly into their pockets. Who would blame them.
2. The rules that you as a ‘Barang” (Foreigner) have to follow are:
a) Wear a helmet at all times (No Khmer rider wears one.)
b) Do not ride with headlights turned on during the day. Riding at night WITHOUT lights is OK, though.
c) Especially for US riders: Do not turn right on a red light.
The most important recommendations for riding are:
1. Do not insist on your right-of-way.
2. Traffic will enter from side streets without looking, and/or stopping.
3. Scooter traffic won’t check rear traffic before executing U-turns, be prepared and HONK!
4. Slow down to a crawl at intersections where you have a green light. Crossing traffic will not stop at a red light. This is for city driving, there are no intersections with traffic lights elsewhere.
5. Pass people, cars, trucks and animals with a wide safety distance, especially at higher speeds on country roads.
6. Watch for disabled vehicles on the road. They are marked by freshly broken-off tree branches. Watch especially for engine or transmission oil running across the road.
7. Expect anything: Motorcycles, cars, trucks will come towards you in your own lane.
8. And most importantly: Understand the pecking order in Cambodian traffic:
It is similar to a Totem pole, and you are at the bottom.
a) At the very top are the cross-country busses, the big trucks and fuel tankers. If need be, you have to get off the road if they want to pass. They will not stop, especially at higher speeds;
b) The next level down are the big SUV’s and bigger cars;
c) Ten it is you on a big motorcycle. You will get some minor brownie points for riding a big points, but not many.
d) Below you is everybody else: Dogs, pedestrians, and bicycles.
However, this sounds more frightening than it is. My ride down south to the border to Vietnam was actually very pleasant and fast. It takes some 40 minutes to get out of city and suburban traffic and everything is fine.
My first stop is at Tonle Bati lake.