The Phnom Penh Post recently reported on a WHO report on Road Safety. The situation is not good, although Cambodia does appear to fare a little better than some other Asian countries.
For now, let's just compare Cambodia and Australia
Cambodia has 39,618km of roads, of which just 2,492km are paved.
Australia has 823,217km of roads, of which 356,343km are paved.
Cambodia has a population of about 15,000,000.
Australia has a population of about 22,000,000.
Cambodia has 1 372 525 registered 2 & 3 wheeled motorised vehicles.
Australia has 660 107 vehicles in the same category.
Cambodia has just 244 267 cars and 4-wheeled light vehicles.
Australia has 14 729 973 vehicles in the same category.
In Cambodia, motorbike helmets are mandatory for drivers but not passengers. The facts are that about 65% of drivers wear helmets and only 9% of passengers!
In Australia, helmets are compulsory for both driver and passenger and 99% of drivers wear them!
Sadly, the 2010 road tolls for both countries are not good. In Australia there were 1363 reported road fatalities, which is about 6/100,000 people, which is down from 9/100,000 people ten years ago. In Cambodia, there were 1816 report road fatalities, which is about 12/100,000 people, up from 4/100,000 people that it was ten years ago.
There are more and more motos and cars on the streets of Phnom Penh every day, and I frequently see more powerful bikes (250cc up) where previously most were 100cc!
In Australia >75% of seriously injured persons are transported by ambulance.
In Cambodia that figure is somewhere between 11% and 49%.
So where does that leave me? Well, it leaves me with a healthy respect for life when I get on my motorbike. I wear a helmet everytime I get on the bike, or even on someone else's bike. I never use my phone while riding. I am conscious that as I ride, I need to be constantly aware of the other road users. And most of all, I cover prayer for my safety as I travel on the roads.
I'm glad that I now live a short walk from school, so don't use the moto on the daily basis that I used to, but I do still use it regularly. For those who read this post, please continue to pray for safety on Cambodia's roads, both for me and my friends and colleagues. Pray that we will be safe and alert riders, and that God will continue to guard our safety as we seek to serve Him in this land.