Vietnam is a country of approximately 90 million people, yet in 2013 there were over 37 million registered motorbikes. Compare that to the 2 million cars registered at that time, and the picture of Vietnamese transport becomes very clear. I took this image during my first two days in Hanoi, the capital of Vietnam, as I became mesmerized by the incessant activity of the motorbikes. If an SUV or pickup is the workhorse of America, the motorbike is the equivalent for the Vietnamese. It's a quick way to zoom down crowded alleyways, transport cargo, or carry a family.
This man is a textbook picture of safety, but quite a few drivers forgo helmets and even more have over-crowded bikes. There are limits on the capacity of these motorbikes, but it was still common to see a family of four or five clinging to every available surface.
Cars are cost-prohibitive for all but the upper-echelon of Vietnamese society. This also helps avoid further congestion by keeping the number of cars on the road low. Despite this, the streets of Vietnam are at capacity as is, and the population is only rising. Motorbikes gained popularity in the 1990s and Vietnam quickly switched from a bicycle-pedaling society to a society powered by motorbikes. Eventually, a new transportation solution will need to be implemented, but for now the motorbike reigns.