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  1. #1
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    Samoa changes to driving on the left

    Samoa has changed the side of the road that cars are driven on from the right to the left. The reason apparently is not safety, but to rid the islands of gas guzzling american clunkers.

    .................

    Samoa has become the first country since the 1970s to change the side of the road on which cars are driven.
    At 0600 local time (1700GMT) sirens sounded and drivers were told to move from the right side to the left.

    The government brought about the change to bring Samoa into line with other South Pacific nations.

    A two-day holiday was declared to ease traffic as people got used to the new rules, which faced legal challenges from groups which predicted chaos.
    At 0600, Prime Minister Tuilaepa Sailele Lupesoliai Malielegaoi addressed the country on national radio.

    "After this announcement you will all be permitted to move to the other side of the road, to begin this new era in our history," the New Zealand Herald quoted him as saying.

    Emergency vehicles and government workers were reportedly stationed at every junction and corner but witnesses said the change happened smoothly.

    Barbara Dreaver, a correspondent for New Zealand Television, said the scene was "just amazing" but that traffic was flowing "fairly well".
    "There were hundreds of people who had come out, just to watch this happen," she said. "We've had the odd squealing of brakes as people suddenly realise that they should not be on that side of the road, but for the most part it's been very smooth."

    The move survived a late legal appeal by the protest group People Against Switching Sides (Pass), who argued that it would bring mayhem to the highways and byways of this remote South Pacific nation.

    Bus drivers have also protested that their doors will now open on the wrong side, in the middle of the road.

    But the Samoan government introduced the change to end its reliance on expensive, left-hand drive imports from America.

    It hopes that Samoan expatriates in Australia and New Zealand will now ship used, more affordable vehicles back to their homeland.

    To minimise the chaos, a two-day national holiday has been declared to keep cars off the road, and prayers have been said at the country's churches in the hope of blessing the changeover.

    BBC NEWS | Asia-Pacific | Samoa switches to driving on left

  2. #2
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    bloody smart thing too!

  3. #3
    Thailand Expat Boon Mee's Avatar
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    ^^
    Gas guzzling American clunkers!

    You know you want a Hummer...

  4. #4
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    have your say on BBC website

    I hope the Samoans are not going to uphold their already negative reputation by switching to driving on the left like the British do. Any normal human knows that driving on the right is the natural side for the great majority of people on earth who are right handed.
    Victor Yao, United States


    what a knobjockey

  5. #5
    Hansum Man! panama hat's Avatar
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    Mrs Hat and I had our Honeymoon, at the Coconuts Beach Resort, in Samoa and were surprised at how primitive/underdeveloped the country was . . . and is.

    Lovely people, huge as can be but also very. very nice.

    There were three traffic lights there, I believe there are now four, and two weren't working.



    Quote Originally Posted by Begbie
    Bus drivers have also protested that their doors will now open on the wrong side, in the middle of the road.
    Well, yes . . . there's that, of course . . . but the amount of traffic is minimal!

  6. #6
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    I remember when i first read about this being planned; wonder what the accident stats will be?

    "A two-day holiday was declared to ease traffic as people got used to the new rules" - and what will people do on their two days off? Drive of course!

    I'm surprised they made the change so dramatically; it could have been introduced over a period of time with left-right on alternate days, and anything goes on Sundays. Just a thought.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Begbie
    Samoa changes to driving on the left
    The first step to becoming a civilised country.

  8. #8
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    Samoa

    Motor Vehicles Statistics

    Vehicle Registration by type, 1996-2005
    Year Private cars Pick-ups Trucks Buses Taxis Motor Cycles Tractor All Vehicles(a) Total
    1996 2813 2639 426 239 718 47 34 458 7374
    1997 2756 2597 404 155 628 52 11 434 7037
    1998 2100 2080 261 159 804 40 6 363 5813
    1999 3683 3630 503 195 972 42 35 1469 10529
    2000 2017 2173 922 252 1000 80 ... 103 6547
    2001 1990 2180 842 240 1416 200 ... 863 7731
    2002 2203 2220 937 238 921 81 30 2566 9196
    2003 2905 3029 1006 235 956 83 32 3042 11288
    2004 4392 3216 1011 235 1286 83 36 3226 13485
    2005 4638 3724 872 298 1286 93 32 3295 14238
    Source: Ministry of Police and Prisons.
    Not too many people to tell!

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by WujouMao
    I hope the Samoans are not going to uphold their already negative reputation by switching to driving on the left like the British do. Any normal human knows that driving on the right is the natural side for the great majority of people on earth who are right handed. Victor Yao, United States
    Wrong, knobjockey (not you, wujou). Driving on the left originated during the days of horse and carriage- because the side facing oncoming horse traffic was your preferred right side, with which you could defend yourself if the need arose- yep, they even had robbers back them. If you were righthanded of course. Incidentally, thats how the righthanded salute came about- to show the approaching carriage that you weren't armed, or at least not carrying it. So the brits, the first to codify the road system for automated transport, merely continued that system- which had arose naturally.

    So why did the Euro's and Amerkins codify driving on the opposite side of the road (some time later), you might ask? Simple- it was in defiance of the British, that was the only reason.
    probes Aliens

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by panama hat View Post
    Mrs Hat and I had our Honeymoon, at the Coconuts Beach Resort, in Samoa and were surprised at how primitive/underdeveloped the country was . . . and is.

    Lovely people, huge as can be but also very. very nice.

    There were three traffic lights there, I believe there are now four, and two weren't working.


    Paradise, Hatters. Paradise...

  11. #11
    Hansum Man! panama hat's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rural Surin View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by panama hat View Post
    Mrs Hat and I had our Honeymoon, at the Coconuts Beach Resort, in Samoa and were surprised at how primitive/underdeveloped the country was . . . and is.

    Lovely people, huge as can be but also very. very nice.

    There were three traffic lights there, I believe there are now four, and two weren't working.


    Paradise, Hatters. Paradise...
    As close as can be, mate . . . as close as can be.

  12. #12
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    Left or Right?

    Quote Originally Posted by sabang View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by WujouMao
    I hope the Samoans are not going to uphold their already negative reputation by switching to driving on the left like the British do. Any normal human knows that driving on the right is the natural side for the great majority of people on earth who are right handed. Victor Yao, United States
    Wrong, knobjockey (not you, wujou). Driving on the left originated during the days of horse and carriage- because the side facing oncoming horse traffic was your preferred right side, with which you could defend yourself if the need arose- yep, they even had robbers back them. If you were righthanded of course. Incidentally, thats how the righthanded salute came about- to show the approaching carriage that you weren't armed, or at least not carrying it. So the brits, the first to codify the road system for automated transport, merely continued that system- which had arose naturally.

    So why did the Euro's and Amerkins codify driving on the opposite side of the road (some time later), you might ask? Simple- it was in defiance of the British, that was the only reason.
    Well said Sabang.
    Also Gengis61 'just a thought' Perhaps it might have been easier for the change over to staggered!!! say
    DAY 1. CYCLES AND MOTOR BIKES.
    DAY 2. CARS.
    DAY 3. LORRIES AND BUSES.
    that would have got rid of most of those Yankee RUST BUCKETS

  13. #13
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    "Left is Right and Right is Wrong"

  14. #14
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    Think you'll find that Samoa is the 65th country to decide to drive on the left, more than you might think.

  15. #15
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  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lambik View Post
    "Left is Right and Right is Wrong"

    Wonder why so many Brits are involve in so many road accident in Thailand then? They ought to be use to drive on the Left.

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by harrymand
    Wonder why so many Brits are involve in so many road accident in Thailand then? They ought to be use to drive on the Left.
    We are, it is just the Thais that cannot tell their left from their right and use the whole road.

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by Spitfire View Post
    Think you'll find that Samoa is the 65th country to decide to drive on the left, more than you might think.
    Amazing, that so many countries once belonged to the british empire. Except Japan and Thailand and the stupid Samoans seems to be only former colonies on Lambik's list.

  19. #19
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    Samoans stranded in road switch

    Samoans stranded in road switch


    Bus owners are angry they will have to convert their vehicles

    Samoans reliant on bus travel have been stranded by the country's switch earlier this week to driving on the left of the road instead of the right.

    All but about 18 of the Pacific island nation's buses are banned from driving because their doors now open onto the middle of the road.

    Bus operators want state aid to modify their vehicles, but talks with the prime minister have so far failed.

    Samoa is the first country to make such a change since the 1970s.

    Reports from Samoa said there had been no accidents since the switch on Monday, despite widespread predictions of road mayhem from opponents.

    Before the switchover, bus drivers had been reluctant to go to the expense of converting their vehicles.




    "A few of the bus owners did not believe that we would proceed [with the change]," Prime Minister Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi said after meeting a group of them on Wednesday.

    He said was considering a request to grant them an extension of three to six months, so they could continue driving while completing the necessary modifications.

    He said he would give an answer to their request on Thursday.

    The Samoan government introduced the change to end its reliance on expensive, left-hand-drive imports from America.

    It hopes that the large Samoan expatriate communities in Australia and New Zealand will now ship used, more affordable vehicles back to their homeland.

    The change will also allow imports of used cars from Japan and Singapore.


  20. #20
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    When will Thailand change to drive on the left?

  21. #21
    Hansum Man! panama hat's Avatar
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    A boy was hit by a wayward bus today.
    A bus driving on the wrong side of the road hit a 12-year-old boy who had been walking to meet his father at a nearby shop.
    I'm sure he was as bug as a bus . . . if he was at least 10 years old

    Samoa road switch: boy hit by bus

  22. #22
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    Rather angst concerning right, left, whatever. Even today, there aren't enough surfaced roads to be found in {Western} Samoa to give this issues such notice. Wonder what RLS would have said...??

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by dirtydog
    All but about 18 of the Pacific island nation's buses are banned from driving because their doors now open onto the middle of the road.
    Why don't they just drive backwards? Sorted.

  24. #24
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    Cool Thailand. Is it left or right side of the road?

    Quote Originally Posted by Warwick View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by dirtydog
    All but about 18 of the Pacific island nation's buses are banned from driving because their doors now open onto the middle of the road.
    Why don't they just drive backwards? Sorted.
    Apart from the main roads - and that is doubtful at times - I am often unsure which side I should be on here, am sure if I tried I could do the 3km to work all on the 'wrong' side, as when I'm on the left most mornings am dodging scooters and sidecars heading towards me. keeps me awake.

  25. #25
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    from Latest New Zealand News & World News, Sports News & NZ Weather Forecasts 17.09.09
    The country marked a major national event on September 7 when drivers moved from the right to the left side of the road.
    The shift brings Samoa into line with New Zealand and Australia and is aimed at encouraging the 170,000 Samoans living in these countries to export cars home.
    An eight-year-old girl became the first casualty of the switch on Saturday when she was hit by a bus after looking the wrong way when crossing the road. An arm was amputated as a result.
    Samoa was the first country in almost 40 years to attempt a switch, with several Australian road safety experts warning the people and the roads were ill-equipped to safely handle the move.

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