Motorcycle Mayhem Central America: Evel Knievel Would Have Crapped Himself
Motorcycles in Central America are not just used for recreation like in the United States and other countries. In Central America, the motorcycle is used for utility, cost, and convenience. When you cannot afford a car then a motorcycle is the next best option. A motorcycle can more easily maneuver around busy streets than a car and also go places a car cannot.
When you don't own a car or pickup and you need to haul your entire family around, you put them on the motorcycle. This includes babies, toddlers, and the elderly. Most times you will find the entire family on the motorcycle at the same time. That's right, you may find 3 or 4 or maybe even 5 people on one motorcycle going down the road!
It is very rare to see anyone wearing a helmet while riding. There are small children standing on the bike or sitting on the tank. There are small babies in the arms of their mothers who are sitting side-saddle on the bikes. Most people are wearing flip-flops or no shoes. All of those safety rule you were taught during a motorcycle class, well those go right out the window!
I have seen some crazy things while traveling and many of them involved motorcycles. How do you carry your groceries if you don't have a car? How do you transport lumber home for a project or home improvements without a car or pickup? How do you transport anything without a car or pickup? On your motorcycle of course!
Antigua is different than anywhere else I visited in Guatemala. There are a large number of restaurants and fast food places that have delivery motorcycles. The largest amount I saw was at the Dominos Pizza. They literally have their own fleet of motorcycles that race all over town delivering pizzas. McDonald's, Burger King, and other places also deliver via motorcycle. I am surprised this model hasn't been adopted in the United States because of the convenience.
The roads in most places throughout Central America are littered with motorcycles. Scooters are also very popular and are an even lower budget consideration. Motorcycles race all over town, weaving in and out of tuk-tuks and cars. The ride next to and in front of the "Chicken" buses with daring nerve. They ride wheel-to-wheel five or six wide at times and zig-zag through the streets.
Like American, cell phones and texting are also a problem in Central America. Drivers are texting and driving but even crazier are the riders on motorcycles carrying whole families while the person driving the bike is texting on their cell phone! They talk, text, and ride all the time. It is amazing that there are not more wrecks on these bikes!
Now even Evel Knievel believed in safety and he would have most likely not done any of the things these people do here. In fact, he would probably shake his head in disbelief! I know I did!