Bangkok’s Roads are Like the Wild West

illegal parked

You may remember from last year the plans of the police to alleviate traffic jams in Bangkok by being strict on illegal parking. To the extent that they started to tow cars straight away if they parked in a way that blocked traffic. Of course, all of this went out of the window once the protests started. I think partly because the police were distracted elsewhere, but also because people just didn’t respect them any more. One photo earlier on in the protests comes to mind of police being herded by protesters like cattle.

I’ve driven around Bangkok a number of times since the protests started. Near rally sites people were not only parking by the side of the road, but also double parking anywhere they liked. The apparent lawlessness wasn’t just in the protest zones. At red lights, if no cars were coming, people just drove through them. The same went for illegal u-turns and driving in bus lanes. I know some people were doing this before, but it just seems more prevalent at the moment.


But, all of this is about to change. The police have announced that they will have a crackdown on bad driving in Bangkok. You might think this will start straight away. But, no, they want to make it a clean month and won’t start for a couple more weeks. Starting from 1st March 2014, police in Bangkok will be strict (again) on the following traffic violations:

  1. Parking in non parking areas
  2. Double parking
  3. Parking on footpaths
  4. Driving on footpaths
  5. Driving against the flow of traffic
  6. Overtaking other vehicles in congested traffic
  7. Running red lights
  8. Drink driving
  9. Not fastening seatbelt
  10. Using a mobile phone while driving
  11. Overtaking at places where it is prohibited
  12. Driving without a licence
  13. Speeding

5 thoughts on “Bangkok’s Roads are Like the Wild West

  • February 12, 2014 at 5:06 am

    Richard, sounds like I got lucky. I flew into Bangkok from the U.S. 4 days ago, went directly to Pattaya for 3 days and was(happy to get out); then scored on a ticket to Udon Thani on Bangkok Airways. What a deal! Despite the situation here in Thailand, it sure beats the freezing weather and problems in Chicago. Just hope the discontent here in the LOS doesn’t spread. In any case, it’s still saver than about any city in the Big PX. Thanks for your updates.

  • February 12, 2014 at 12:55 am

    Bah! Jim, in Phuket at Central Festival traffic lights (5 minute delay if you miss the green light), it is normal for bikes to take a left lane slip road at red lights, do a U-turn across three lanes of traffic then manoeuvre themselves through three more lanes of queued traffic in order to take another left filter lane so they can continue straight on.

    And don’t start me off on what the taxi drivers get up to…

  • February 12, 2014 at 12:09 am

    What about failure to stop for pedestrians at a marked crosswalk?
    I have seen motorcycles leave the pavement for the sidewalk to circumvent a fifteen second crossing light.

  • February 11, 2014 at 7:54 pm

    And, as we all know, on the 2nd of March things will be back to normal.

  • February 11, 2014 at 3:51 pm

    Oh dear, you poor Bangkokians don’t know how easy you have it. Just come down to Phuket and drive around for a few minutes.

    You think Bangkok is like the Wild West? Phuket is Tombstone, Deadwood and Dodge City all rolled into one.

    By the way, those traffic violations should be in the following order of importance, IMHO:

    Drink driving
    Running red lights
    Driving against the flow of traffic
    Overtaking other vehicles in congested traffic
    Overtaking at places where it is prohibited
    Using a mobile phone while driving
    Driving on footpaths
    Parking on footpaths
    Parking in non parking areas
    Double parking
    Driving without a licence
    Not fastening seatbelt


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