Driving between lanes and ignoring basic traffic rules like stop signs have made motorcyclists public enemy number one for some Costa Rican drivers.
Now after a record high 150 deaths were registered from motorcycle accidents in 2015, authorities say that bad reputation comes from too many motorcyclists who are disobeying laws and putting lives at risks.
“We’re facing a serious problem that some motorcylcists don’t want to understand,” said Transit Police Chief Mario Calderón. “When we publish these stats we’re not looking to attack these drivers, but instead we want to make them think about their behavior on the road.”
The death toll amounts to one death every other day and is higher than the motorcycle-related deaths in 2010 and 2011 combined. It’s also more than double the 63 fatalities registered from cars on Costa Rican roads last year.
“Even though only two people maximum can travel on these motorcycles, the amount of deaths is double that of those who lose their lives in accidents involving automobiles, which can carry five people,” Calderón said. “It’s evident that irresponsible driving is costing lives unnecessarily.”
The Public Works and Transport Ministry reported 114 motorcycle-related deaths in 2014 and 88 in 2013.
Car drivers also need to do a better job of watching out for motorcycles. Officials from the ministry recommend that car drivers keep a distance of 1.5 meters when passing motorcycles in a lane.
“Some drivers complain that motorcyclists drive over the lane lines,” Calderón said. “But when they drive in the center of lanes drivers yell at them to move out of the way, so there’s a double standard that exists with some drivers.”