Police cite larger number of moto deaths

Since the first of January 100 persons have died while traveling on a motorcycle, according to the Policía de Tránsito. The total is 22 more than last year, according to the report.

By contrast, only 44 automobile passengers died during the same period, the traffic police said. Some 25 persons on bicycles died, too, the report added.

During the month of August, there were 15 motorcycle deaths, which represented 44 percent of all traffic deaths in that month, the police said.

The Consejo de Seguridad Vial has launched a media campaign in which those using motorcycles are warned that there is no protection for their body as there would be in an automobile. The chassis is the body, the campaign warns.

Expats might be tempted to conclude that the behavior of motorcyclists in traffic is the cause of the raising death toll. However, this might not be correct. Motorcycle operators certainly take many chances in metro area traffic. They weave, they cut off other vehicles. They ride down the center lane or between lanes of traffic.

However, a check of reports of motorcycle deaths shows that the bulk seems to happen at night in rural areas during some kind of competition. There are many solitary deaths of motorcycle operators who simply run off the road or crash into a wall or tree. A smaller number died in collisions of two motorcycles, which may have been the result of playing chicken.

The traffic police say that a major cause of motorcycle deaths is excessive speed. That appears to be consistent with operators running off the road or into objects. There probably also is an alcohol factor in some weekend deaths.

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