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Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - A salute to cyclos

A salute to cyclos

A response to the Jan 13 article "Crack down on

cyclos"

Editor:

Is there anything that a cyclo cannot carry?

While heading to work today I was amazed at the variety of things; One had a

huge basket of eggs, another coconuts, another charcoal, another steel rods for

construction and even a number with people in them. In short, cyclos seem to be

the trucks of Phnom Penh and if you need some labor the drivers are the laborers

as well.

How do we repay these city servants? Lately it seems that the

cyclo drivers are taking the brunt of the traffic problems of the city. I do not

really understand that. They seem to be the only ones who signal what they are

about to do. Well that's not altogether true, four wheeled vehicles also signal

when they are about to move traffic out of their way. I know because I do it

too.

The problem with cars and land cruisers is that they take up the

space of about 4 cyclos, frequently carry only one person and guzzle foreign

petrol. According to the article, "If they (cyclos) collide with your car even

if you are in the right-you never get compensation because you know how much

money they make a day." I have never seen a cyclo win in any accident. Which has

more to loose in an accident? A one and a half ton truck going 30-40 kph or a

200 pound cyclo going 10 kph? Of course a cyclo always gets the worst and the

poor cyclo driver may loose everything he has.

If there is a problem on

the streets it is the cars and land cruisers. The great majority of Cambodians

seem to be on the 2 or 3 wheeled vehicles. If this is true can someone explain

to me why Norodom Blvd (Tousa-mouth) is off limits to motorcycles, bicycles and

of course cyclos. How about making some streets off limits to trucks, cars and

land cruisers? Nah! Why make room on the streets for the majority of the

Cambodians?

Furthermore, according to the article there is talk of taking

5,000 cyclos off the streets. What will all of those people do after their work

has been taken from them? The ones who are lucky enough to survive the purging

will be hassled by police for penalties because their cyclo isn't the right

color or their roof has a leak.

We should be thanking them and try to

help them by not forcing them off the streets. The crackdown on cyclos is

unwarranted and unfair. I salute the cyclo drivers for providing a great service

to the community at a low price. I salute the women who sweep the streets and

the people who pick up the garbage. All of these people do jobs which we do not

want to do and by doing those tasks make our lives better. I salute you.

- Paul Luchtenburg

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