A Day in the Life,  Don't Be That Guy,  Motorbiking,  Vietnam

An Accident in Danang

Decided to ride a bike from Hoi An to Hue (132km) with Sara and Nicholas, a German couple we met in Siem Reap and then met again in Hoi An. We had arranged the bikes through a small family run company and they would take our bags up to Hue – so we didn’t need to carry them on the bikes, and they would pick up the bikes there. $20 USD for the bike for the day which was a good deal considering we didn’t have to return it back to Hoi An.

I had ridden the semi-auto bike the day before to Marble Mountain with Lionel on the back. So I jumped at the chance to ride just a small section of the same road that would take us to Hue. Big mistake.

Riding the highway was ok as it’s pretty straight and cars, bikes, buses, cows just overtake you. Busier traffic, however, freaks me out and I don’t know how to react quick enough or deal with the vehicles pulling out, coming towards you, merging or turning.

So when a truck pulled out and I knew I couldn’t go past it I freaked out and must have simultaneously breaked, changed gears and turned the steering too sharply. Bad move as it caused the bike, Lionel & myself to fall on the busy highway.

I landed on the road, the bike landed on me and Lionel fell on me and the road, knocking his helmet and grazing his elbow.

Some passerbys lifted the bike off me and all I could think of was ‘I knew it! I knew I would fall.’ I don’t know why I over think things. Then I noticed blood was dripping on the ground, and that it was coming from my face. That was a bit scary as I was worried about my teeth and whether they were cracked.

A passing Easy Rider offered to take me to the hospital, but I felt fine, just sore. Mostly in shock. Then Lionel, Sara & Nicholas went off to talk and I remember watching them thinking ‘Why can’t they talk here? They’re making a fuss. I’m fineeee.’

Another passerby offered to show us the way to the hospital, and after an exchange with a taxi driver who wanted to charge us to take us there we followed the Good Samaritan on our bikes. I kept my head down and pushed a tissue against my bleeding upper lip.

We got shown into the hospital room straight away (more than I can say about Victorian hospitals where the wait can be hours) and a doctor made me lie down on the table. He didn’t speak English but I gathered my head went there and my feet went there.

As the doctor was cleaning my wounds, I whispered to Lionel, ‘Can you take a picture? For the blog.’ This was real adventuring and I wanted to document it. So silly.

Then I felt some string on my chin, and I felt an injection and then I realised the doctor was stitching up my face. That’s when I started crying. I think I had been in shock before then but that’s when the severity of the situation hit me.

I was so stupid, and should’ve dealt with the situation better. Luckily the accident wasn’t worse, but I shouldn’t have put myself and more importantly, someone else, Lionel, in that situation.

Got some stitches in my chin (first ever stitches – I was a very cautious kid), injections in my arm (God knows what), a busted, bloody knee, half the skin missing on my left hand, skin missing off my top lip, bit my tongue in the accident, and most worryingly, a fracture line running across three of my top teeth…

Got an x-ray done of my head (in Vietnamese that’s called an ‘X- Quang’) and luckily everything seemed fine to the doctor.

It was entirely my own fault that I couldn’t deal with the truck pulling out, and reacted badly. Lionel was surprised that I was keen to continue the trip after our detour to the hospital but I explained to him that I’m not afraid of the bike, I’m just afraid of me on a bike. I needed more practice driving on the right side of the roads and the traffic conditions. I needed more practice with the bike and how to cope with hazards. I should’ve known better. If I wasn’t going to ride a motorbike back in Melbourne, what made me think I could ride it in Vietnam with their busy roads and haphazard road rules!

Hospital bill came to $10 USD. Another unexpected surprise from the day, considering I was thinking of arguing against going to the hospital as I knew our travel insurance wouldn’t cover it. Bought some prescribed medication and bandages and that came to $30.

Trying to recover now, telling my body to suck it up every ten minutes or so, and just hoping I don’t get an infection and my teeth don’t get any worse.

Stupid Emma.



  • Dominique berger

    Dear Emma and Lionel,
    “plus de peur que de mal” says the saying, thankGod! Yes, traffic in Vietnam can be very adventurous for us westerners. Jörg and I experienced riding our bicycles in the midst of town, I can understand how you felt, Emma!
    Cheer up and enjoy the next portion of our trip!
    Dominique with Jörg
    by the way thanks for the postcard and sign of life.

  • Loman

    Don’t be too hard on yourself. It was an accident. This could happen to anyone. Just glad to see all your limbs are still there. No more riding. Let Lionel do the riding and you sit in the back and relax! Take care of those wounds so you won’t end up with any infection.

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