The Pattaya Mail reports that local authorities are now scrambling to fix up the pedestrian crossings that were installed many years ago in an effort to make Pattaya’s roads more safe for tourists. As we reported earlier, many VIPs including the Prime Minister and Tourism Minister are expected to make the journey from Bangkok to host the ASEAN fleet review.
The story goes on to say,
Desperate to make Pattaya look like a modern beach resort for top military leaders of neighboring Southeast Asian countries who will be arriving for this month’s fleet show, city hall has embarked on a beach cleanup, patch-up of holes in the sand left by erosion and, now, repairs to traffic signals – at least those near downtown and the pier where the VIPs will be staying.
This comes hot on the heels of the news that Thailand is still one of the countries with the most dangerous roads on Earth.
The Provincial Road Accident Prevention and Resolution Program and Road Safety Operation Centre has released a report that shows there were 22,356 road traffic deaths in 2016, up nearly, 3,000 from 2015’s toll.
Some grumpy expats have listed their reasons on reddit:
- Huge number of vulnerable motorcycles. No safety protection in the event of an accident.
- Fatalistic outlook: If you’re going to die, you’re going to die. We don’t need: Seatbelts, helmets, child seats because this amulet will protect us.
- Almost nil enforcement of traffic rules other than as a bribery mechanism.
- Relatively light fines/penalties for violations that are almost never enforced anyway.
- Culture of impunity for the wealthy/influential who drive any way they want without fear. They can even kill traffic policemen while under the influence and suffer almost no consequences.
- Poor safety infrastructure. Dangerous road construction and layouts. Narrow roads with no footpaths for pedestrians. Roadside cafes literally on the road.
- Poor driver training, with most drivers knowing almost nothing about the rules of the road.
- Children even as young as 10 or less being allowed to drive or ride motorcycles.
- Absolutely no respect for the rights of pedestrians/bicyclists, etc.
- ‘Crackdown’ mentality, with periodic resolve to enforce traffic laws strictly, which invariably fizzle out after a few days or weeks.
- Light penalties and dearth of legal requirements (or unenforced) mean deaths/injuries are an affordable cost of business for owner/operators and fleet operators.
- Corruption means that those who in other countries would have been banned long ago for dangerous driving are still on the road.
- A society in which many find nothing wrong with drinking and driving. When I used to drive a few years back it was not unusual at all to see people drinking beer or whiskey (usually multiple bottles) with their breakfast or lunch at roadside rest stops.
According to statistics, 39% of road fatalities are on motorbikes, 5% are pedestrians. So even if you are walking you should still keep in mind that you could easily become a victim, since many cities do not have adequate sidewalks and pedestrian lighting. This is especially true in Pattaya where people are frequently intoxicated. We very highly recommend you possess travel insurance since while good quality private hospitals do exist, they also charge for their services.
Still, one positive piece of news, if you are a smoker – the ban on smoking on the beach has been delayed until February 2018.