Fear on the Roads of Vietnam without My Motorcycle Licence

Following is an account of a foreigner who was an innocent party (to a degree) in a motorcycle accident. The only liability the foreigner was guilty of was that he did not have a Vietnamese Motorcycle Licence.

Could you possibly find yourself in a similar situation?

“A friend and I were having a nice Sunday ride to the Mekong Delta a few weeks ago enjoying the fresh air and wide open spaces of the country side. Everything was perfect, what could go wrong? Then all of a sudden the motorbike in front of us rode into a very large pothole. We slowed down to see if the rider was okay. The passenger who was on the back was an 8 year old girl and she was not wearing a helmet. The rider was lying on the side of the road unconscious with blood coming from the side of his head. We were both shocked as we saw the whole thing happen right before our eyes. The girl miraculously was up on her feet without a scratch. We can’t speak Vietnamese so we could not do too much other than make sure the rider was comfortable as much as possible.

Bystanders and household owners started to crowd around to see what was happening. Everything was sort of okay to this point other than been a little shaken up. Then some of the Vietnamese started talking to us in Vietnamese and pointing at us and pointing at the injured rider. At this point a chill went straight up my spine and I felt weak at the knees. I was overwhelmed with fear as I could see where this was going.

Thoughts were starting to race through my mind as my breathing became shallow. Here I was in a foreign country at the scene of an accident (which I did not cause) and people appearing to be accusing me of this accident. The first thing that entered my mind at this point was that I did not have a Vietnamese Motorcycle Licence. Even though I was not guilty of the accident I was guilty of riding un-licenced.

What should I do? Should I ride off and not get involved or should I stay?

I could not speak Vietnamese so I really could not do too much. The injured rider was now been looked after by another Vietnamese person. He was now conscious and talking. I felt very uncomfortable in this situation and decided to hop on to my bike and head off.

I was truly traumatized after that incident. We continued on to the Mekong Delta but my whole day had been spoiled.

Upon arriving home and thinking about the whole situation and run of events I had no reason to worry because I did not cause the accident. Having said that legally I should not be riding on the road without a licence and I think that was the thing that was upsetting me. I kept thinking what if, what if, what if.

I know if I had my Vietnamese Motorcycle Licence I would feel a whole lot more confident whether I was in the wrong or not”

The moral of this true account is if you abide by the law the law will abide by you.

Leave A Reply (2 comments So Far)


  1. Akex
    1 year ago

    You are too westernized. In vietnam if you’re caught you only pay a small fine. Less than 10 dollars.. it’s not like in the West where they ruin your life over something so petty. Been riding all over vietnam and cops always wave me by.


    • Paul Simos
      1 year ago

      I can see what you are saying that the developed countries are much more regulated and could be seen as more restrictive at the same time. Having said that we still have an obligation to obey the law no matter which country we are living.