Hanoi slated to ban motorbikes, 'the culture of Vietnam,' by 2030

Bikes and bustling in Hanoi during rush hour.

Story highlights

  • Hanoi's department of transport wants to ban motorbikes in the city
  • They're a common sight and are blamed for congestion and pollution

(CNN)Lien Nguyen owns "I Love Hue Tour," an all-female-run motorbike company in the heart of Hanoi.

The entrepreneur's business takes at least a dozen tourists around the Vietnamese capital every day, by way of the city's staple mode of transportation.
    But all that could change in a few short years.
    The Department of Transportation of Hanoi, a city of over 5 million motorbikes and 7 million people, has recently announced plans to ban all such bikes by 2030.
    Citing environmental concerns and severe road congestion, the office released a statement describing an "alarming" increase in bikes in Hanoi.
    Lien Nguyen founded and runs her company "I Love Hue Tour," an all-female-run bike company that guides tourists by means of Hanoi's beloved motorbike.
    The number of motorbikes and cars in any area of Hanoi is 1.34 times the roads' capacity, with up to 3.72 times in some crowded central areas, the government said.
    Residents like Nguyen understand the worries, but also describe the bikes as integral to Hanoi's unique identity.
    "It's very touchy because a motorbike is the culture of Vietnam," Nguyen told CNN. "It will save the environment for Vietnamese people, but a car is very expensive and not many people in Vietnam can afford to buy a car."
    It's much cheaper to buy a bike, and there are few public transport options.
    Motorbikes are a way of life in Hanoi.
    "With public transport now, you cannot go far away and whenever you want," said Nguyen.
    The released statement promises better public transportation by 2030, and it also proposes restricted hours and bike fees in the coming years.
    That, however, has a long way to go. Right now, the city has close to nothing in terms of accessible and widespread transportation. With a congested city, the cycle continues as everyone heads for their own bike.
    But the hectic nature of the roads seems to be embraced by Hanoi's residents.