Pedestrians stuck between a rock and a hard place

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Related agencies should secure space for pedestrians on sidewalks in Ho Chi Minh City and Hanoi before enforcing the latest traffic law.

Under Decree No.34 that takes effect from May 20, pedestrians will be fined VND40,000-80,000 (US$2.1- 4.2) for violations, including walking in the streets, in the centers of the country's major cities.

But, how is the law to be enforced when many of the sidewalks in the two cities are now used for parking and business purposes?

Last year, the authorities in HCMC allowed sidewalks on certain streets to be rented out for businesses and parking.

This decision to rent out sidewalks benefits the city's budget and the local people.

However, it affects pedestrians who should have priority in using sidewalks. In some cases, the entire sidewalk has been taken up for commercial purposes, despite the city's ban on doing so, leaving no room for walking.

The same situation is also happening in the capital, which started charging fees for using sidewalks and streets for businesses and parking three years ago.

Is it reasonable to fine people who walk in the streets because sidewalks are being taken over for commercial purposes?

Shouldn't those concerned enforce strict regulations on renting out sidewalks with heavy fines imposed on those not staying within limits, before enforcing this new traffic law on pedestrians?

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