After the third scooter crash, not mine I hasten to add, outside in the same amount of nights I am wondering if I am hardening to the sight of dark blood stains spreading across the road from smashed and bloody heads. I know the sound now of metal crashing and I rise from my desk, looking at the clock turn midnight, checking the security cameras to see if my security guard, also a policeman, is getting up too.
I was warned when I arrived in the country not to help traffic incidents incase I got drawn into paying for a victims hospital bills so I stand back a little as I approach the chaotic night scene and see two bodies lying motionless in the road and a stack of mangled scooters. One body moans like a child, wimpering, possibly drunk, curled up like a foetus but no obvious injury and I remember my emergency first aid training and move on to the silent body.
There is no such thing as an ambulance or emergency services here in the provinces as far as I know. These matters are managed by the public first and later, if not pressed elsewhere, by the police, who have no first aid training outside of the capital and little in it. Though I understand non-profit organisations Side By Side International, OESP and others have been working in collaboration to transport 34 medical vehicles, equipment and training to help the Cambodian Kingdom develop a sorely needed emergency first-aid system.
Road deaths in Cambodia have risen 217% percent in the last five years due to the huge increase in the less petrol guzzling economy of the motorbike or scooter. The photographs here show you the wide and happy use of these vehicles by so many people for so many purposes. These amazing little machines, which drove the UK into good economy after WWII, are too fuelling the growth in this amazing country but sadly they are also maiming and killing far too many of the young people that are needed to get this country rocking and rolling again.
Edit note: I have heard the young man I went to help who had been silent and so awfully bloody with head injuries has died. He wasn’t wearing a crash helmet.