A Bangkok cyclist who says he was caught in traffic while wearing a helmet and not wearing a seatbelt will now have to spend time in jail.
The cyclist, a 29-year-old named Nong Chai-kuen, was riding his bike on Tuesday morning when a car drove into him from behind.
Nong was on his way to the University of Bangkok’s Ratchathani University Hospital for his annual pilgrimage to the city’s Buddhist shrine of Nang Nga, which is known as the Golden Horse.
“The driver did not stop.
Instead, he took the bike out and put it on the side of the road and drove away,” Nong told Al Jazeera.
“The next moment, I was trapped.
I could not even see my bike.”
Nong says he is now locked in a Bangkok police station and waiting for a court date.
“I don’t know what to do now.
I don’t think I can afford the legal fees to go to court, and if I do, I will have to get used to paying fines and fines,” he said.
Nang’s experience highlights the challenges faced by bike riders in Thailand, where the country has one of the highest bicycle-related fatalities rates in the world.
According to the International Cyclist Federation (ICF), a non-profit organisation dedicated to the protection of cyclists, Thailand has one-and-a-half million registered cyclists, but only around 5,000 have helmets or other safety equipment.
“In Thailand, a helmet is not required unless you are wearing a protective device,” the ICF said.
“If you are riding without a helmet, you are not really safe.”
The government has also introduced new rules to make riding helmets mandatory in some parts of the country.
The National Council for Culture and Sports (NCS) has issued guidelines on bike helmet use, including banning the use of any type of helmet in the city of Chiang Mai.
A group of bicycle enthusiasts in Chiang Rai recently protested the police crackdown on the protesters.
“They did not take action.
The police are not taking action against the protesters, they are only arresting the organizers,” said Nong.
Police have also arrested a number of people for participating in the protest.
Meanwhile, Nong is hoping that he will be able to return to work soon, as the government has issued an official permit for him to come to Thailand for an interview.
“It was the first time I went to a hospital for medical reasons.
It was scary, but it was also fun,” he told Al-Jazeera.
“I don`t think I will be doing this for long.
If I return to my job, I would have to work harder, and I would not have the chance to be around other people like me.”
Nang has been riding bikes in the capital for about two years.
He says that he is happy to get back to his hometown, as it is a better place to live than in the countrys neighbouring Thailand.
“As a cyclist, I have a lot of respect for other cyclists.
I am sure that other people can do the same.
In my case, I think I have done the right thing,” he added.