Driving a motorbike without a crash helmet is amended 5000 Riel
The Cambodian highway code
Interview with Maly, Cambodian road police officer.
VOC: Are foreign tourists allowed to drive a car or a motorbike in Cambodia? Are foreign driving licenses valid in Cambodia?
Maly: Yes, of course tourists may rent a car or a motorbike and drive in Cambodia with their foreign license if they came to Cambodia for a short time. But if a tourist stays in Cambodia for more than one month, he has to apply for a Cambodian driving license. The procedure is not complex: to obtain a Cambodian license card, you have to submit your valid foreign license, a photocopy of your visa and 3 photos to the Transport Department. It will cost you $50.
VOC: It sounds strange: if a policeman stops me on the road and check my license, how can he define how long do I residue in Cambodia? Do I need to have my passport with me and show it to police all the time?
Maly: We know everybody who stays a long time in our city. We know foreigners by faces.
VOC: What are the most important driving rules in Cambodia that foreigners have to keep in mind?
Maly: Rules are international, but the most important rule: if you drive a motorbike - wear a helmet; it is a must for everybody, we strictly control it! Also: always follow traffic lights. And don’t drive faster than 45 km/hour; this is a speed limit inside urban areas in Cambodia.
VOC: But, as I know, road police in Cambodia doesn’t have special equipment to measure the speed of vehicles. How do you cope with it?
Maly: We can roughly estimate the speed without any equipment, we used to do it just by eye. We’ll get a special equipment for speed measuring by days, so we’ll use it.
VOC: What are official penalties for the road code violations in Cambodia?
Maly: Driving a motorbike without helmet is amended 5000 Riel ($1.25). If you don’t have a license, police has right to arrest your car or a motorbike. Than you’ll have a lot of problems to get it back.
VOC: Motorbike rubberies is the main danger for tourists, specifically in Sihanoukville. Gangsters on motorbikes attack foreigners, catch their bags or photo cameras and run away in seconds. In most cases police cannot help to victims. What are your recommendations?
Maly: Of course we know about this problem it and we do work on it. My advice for tourists: avoid visiting outlying districts at night. Try to follow main roads of the city, they are much more safe and protected by police. The safest time of the day for walking across the city is the morning; from six to eight p.m. At this time women accompany their children to schools and the entire city is crowded and safe.
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