Laos has one of the highest vehicle accident rates in the world, and considering the size of the country, it equates to a rather high incident rate per capita. All accidents involve some combination of motorcycle, car, tuk-tuk or bicycle.
Strolling back to our guesthouse we’d notice a motorist come barreling out from a side alley without stopping. We’d notice him, number one because he’d whizzed past use without flinching and second, because he’d then nook a cyclist. Like many tourists do in Luang Prabang, this guy had rented a bike to get around. For one US dollar, it’s a splurge everyone indulges in here. Of course though, this doesn’t include a helmet. Helmet? Asking for one will leave your bike rental guy looking at you like you’ve got a boog hanging out. Mr. Biker came cruising down the very open road while Mr. Moped did the same from his side alley. BAM! Mr. Biker did a mid air double sow cow over Mr. Moped. This was about to get very interesting. What do you do? Again, like Thailand, Laos people are known for their non-confrontational demeanor. And there was a good chance Mr. Biker didn’t speak any Lao. So, here’s the breakdown of what happened. Mr. Biker landed flat on his face, but luckily momentum propelled him to his feet. He’d rush over and grab Mr. Moped’s bike to show his upset and then began to pantomime his frustration. With no signs of blood or protruding bones, he brushed himself off and then in slow and irritable English that was loud, but decibels still not reaching a yelling category, Mr. Biker said simply “You. Stop! You. Look!”