This is the future and it's not the American homophobe of individual, personal space capsules; it's the embracing, sociable Asian open-air style of mass transit. Entire families ride these things. Couples, friends, even strangers ride alongside each other through the maelstrom, chatting with each other on the same bike or across to each other on other bikes, as they flow through the traffic like fish in a school or amoebas on their way through a great vessel. But now we throw in the cell phone and things get downright scary. People are texting now only as passengers, but as drivers!
For example, I would say the picture below is acceptable, as long as you are sitting on the back, are over 18, and aren't particularly concerned about someone else grabbing your phone as they drive by (this has happened to one of our staff who works here)...
This, on the other hand, is clearly not acceptable!
By the way, this is an example of just how far you can take shooting at night with a honking big telephoto lens without a tripod. This photo was taken at only 1/30 of a second at 105mm. I was not using vibration reduction and I was panning to follow the speed of the traffic.
Many people wear face masks to help keep the particulate pollution out. Incidentally, riding a family on a scooter is not quite as dangerous as it looks because the traffic flow tends to be fairly slow. I've seen a number of accidents (usually in the rain, or a mild bump-and fall) where the people just picked up their bike, got back on, and kept going...
No helmets? It's okay - this mother and daughter are actually riding a bicycle.
Technorati: these photos were all shot with a D700 at ISO 2000, wide open at f/2.8, hand-held, while panning from left to right, at shutter speeds ranging from 1/30 to 1/60 second, using a 70-200 zoom. I started with aperture priority continuous focus but the camera was having a hard time getting the light readings quick enough because of the flashing of headlights against dark backgrounds (focus speed was pretty good), so I switched to manual f/2.8 and 1/40 sec, and it worked fine.
More photos in the gallery Saigon Cycles on my smugmug site.