Photographer's Note

The old woman riding her bicycle on the traffic flow at the city centre in Hanoi.

The bicycles that make up most of Hanoi's traffic are joined by a growing number of motorcycles and cars. To cross the roads, hold your breath and walk into the never-ending flow of motorbikes and pray that you don't lose your nerve. In this photo, I want to show you how the traffic is.

In addition, traffic on Hanoi streets is extremely chaotic. Traffic on a typical thoroughfare includes buses, heavy trucks, cars, motorbikes, bicycles, cyclos, pedestrians (often pulling handcarts), and even the occasional pony cart, all jockeying for the same pavement. Motorbikes are by far the most common vehicles, followed closely by bicycles. Average speeds are quite slow because of bicycle and pedestrian traffic, but speeding and darting motorbikes are becoming more common, with negative consequences. Rules of the road commonly accepted in the west do not apply. Traffic lights are a relatively new introduction and not widely obeyed. Lane markings, including pedestrian crosswalks, exist but are completely disregarded. It is common for bikes and motorbikes to drive the wrong way down streets, against traffic. Vehicles stopped in traffic do not pull over. Vendors selling produce from their laden bicycles typically set up in the street near intersections, looking for the greatest volume of potential customers and creating crowds around them of stopped vehicles. Friends on bikes and motorbikes like to ride abreast and catch up on conversations in traffic, often holding hands in a chain effect.

Photo Information
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Additional Photos by Ireland Hoang (sicily198x) Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 155 W: 44 N: 145] (2026)
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