Kudos to the Chiang Mai police department for trying to get motorcyclists to wear helmets. Unfortunately, this is primarily done through setting up (highly visible) roadblocks near busy intersections. The result? Dozens of motorbikes braking to a halt and pulling U-turns in the middle of crowded streets. Sigh.
The other day, I saw a new and interesting technique employed. I pulled up next to a motorbike with a helmeted driver, but a helmet-less adult and a helmet-less child riding along. Looking across the intersection, we both saw the police checkpoint already issuing tickets to the bare-headed. Instead of turning around and navigating an alternate route, the driver of the motorbike motioned to the truck driver next to him. A brief exchange took place through the open window, and the helmet-less passengers hopped off the motorbike and climbed into the truck. Arrangements were made for both drivers to stop again just beyond the checkpoint and allow the passengers to hop back on the bike.
That’s how we roll here in Chiang Mai.