Mounting deaths of motorcycle riders have traffic officials concerned

Transport officials are expressing concern at the soaring rate of deaths of those riding on motorcycles.

The Policía de Tránsito said Monday that there have been 52 deaths in the first five months of this year so far. That is 19 more than last year.

Those killed while riding motorcycles represent 38 percent of all traffic deaths during that period, police said.

Mario Calderón Cornejo, the new director of the Policía de Tránsito has ordered his officers to crack down with an emphasis on those riding on a motorcycle without a proper helmet. Since the beginning of the year, police have only issued 61 tickets for drivers or passengers who did not have a helmet.

The situation is obvious to anyone who is on the highway that motorcycle drivers do not heed traffic signals and manage to squirm through lines of stopped vehicles.

But a check of the deaths reported by the Judicial Investigating Organization show that most motorcycle deaths are from unexplained accidents at night or in the early morning. Sometimes both driver and passenger die. Most likely many are due to alcohol or drugs.

The motorcycles drive headlong into trucks headed in the opposite direction or into a roadside tree or bridge structure.

Most of the accidents on the city streets are not fatal.

Still police will be paying close attention to the law that requires motorcycle drivers to keep headlights on and to use a reflective vest, said the director.

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