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Over 20,000 Right Hand Drive Cars Imported in Kyrgyzstan in 2012

Wednesday 8 May 2013

BISHKEK (24.kg news agency) – Over 20,000 right hand drive (RHD) cars have been imported in Kyrgyzstan in 2012, Deputy Head of Road Patrol Service of the Interior Ministry of Kyrgyzstan Soolot Begaliyev told at a press conference.

“Statistics say the number of right hand drive vehicles is increasing from year to year. If in 2009 there were imported about 7,953 of them, in 2010 there were 10,304 right hand cars already. About 22,218 have been delivered in the country in 2011,” he pointed.

Although Kyrgyzstan as a former Russian province drives on the right, cheaper used cars from Japan are almost as popular as LHD (Left Hand Drive) cars of the same class. Russia is estimated to have more than 1.5 million RHD vehicles. In the far eastern regions, such as Vladivostok or Khabarovsk, RHD vehicles make up to 60% of the total. This includes not only private cars, but also police cars, ambulances, and many other municipal and governmental vehicles.

In the World a total of 76 countries, territories and dependencies have a left-hand traffic. In Europe the United Kingdom, Ireland, Isle of Man, Guernsey, Jersey, Malta and Cyprus have a left-hand traffic. None shares a land border with a country that drives on the right and all were once part of the British Empire. Some Commonwealth countries and other former British colonies, such as Australia, Bahamas, Brunei, Barbados, Hong Kong, Jamaica, Singapore, New Zealand, India, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Malaysia, South Africa and Trinidad & Tobago drive on the left, but others such as Canada, Gambia, Ghana, Nigeria and Sierra Leone drive on the right. Other countries that drive on the left in Asia are Thailand, Indonesia, Bhutan, Nepal, Macau, East Timor and Japan. In South America, only Guyana and Suriname drive on the left. Most of the Pacific countries drive on the left, in line with Australia and New Zealand, with Samoa joining most recently, on 7 September 2009, the first country for three decades to change the side on which it drives.

In Russia, in 1709, the Danish envoy under Peter I noted the widespread custom for traffic in Russia to pass on the right. On 5 February 1752, Empress Elizabeth issued an edict for traffic to keep to the right in Russian cities. In England, on the other hand, keeping to the left was the custom. The first legal reference in Britain to an order for traffic to keep to the left was in 1756 with regard to London Bridge. The General Highways Act of 1773 contained a recommendation that horse traffic should keep to the left and this was incorporated in the Highway Act of 1835. The making of a rule was due to the increase in horse traffic by the end of the 18th century. Countries that became part of the British Empire adopted the British keep-left rule, although some have since changed.

In Continental Europe, driving on the right is associated with France and Napoleon. During the French Revolution, a decree of 1792 ordered traffic to keep to the “common” right. A little later, Napoleon Bonaparte consolidate this position by ordering the military to stay on the right side, even when out of the country, so that everyone who met the French army, had to concede the way. In the early 19th century, those countries occupied by or allied to Napoleon adopted right-hand traffic.

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