The bicycle -- put aside in favour of the motorcycle in many parts of South-East Asia--has made a spectacular return to the streets of South Vietnamese cities.
GV Bicycle store in Saigon
SV INTERIOR frames welded (2 shots)
SV Boy carries parts
SV People assemble bikes (3 shots)
SV Men assemble frames (2 shots)
SV people look at bikes for sale
SV Soldier looks at bikes
SV Girl rides bike
SV Man on bike
SV People ride bikes in street (4 shots)
Initials AE/17.38 AE/17.57
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Background: The bicycle -- put aside in favour of the motorcycle in many parts of South-East Asia--has made a spectacular return to the streets of South Vietnamese cities.
The prohibitive price of petrol, plus a Government clamp-down on the import of new motorcycles and spare parts, has put an estimated one million small motorcycles off the streets of the capital, Saigon.
In just five years, the Japanese motorcycle had become a part of the way of life in Saigon, filling the streets with the snarl of small motors and a blue haze of exhaust fumes.
The decline of the Japanese Motorcycle has meant more jobs for Saigon workers. Bicycle companies have increased their production by as much as 300 per cent since the petrol shortage began, and most of them expect a further 200 to 300 per cent increase in the next few months.
The frames for the bicycles are imported from France, Japan and Taiwan. But the rest of the equipment is made in South Vietnam. The importing of parts is being aided by the Government as part of its plans to ease the fuel shortage.
There is no official estimate of the number of bicycles on Saigon's streets. But together the bicycle factories produce thousands each day, and all of them are being snapped up as soon as they arrive in the shops.