Motorcycles and police

A very common way for people to get around down here is on motorcycles.  They are the small ones though, most are between 100cc and 150cc.  Gas down here is around $5 a gallon, so having something that gets good gas mileage is a must.  You will notice that they don’t follow the same laws as in the States.  You will see them driving in between traffic right on the lines.  This is very common and nothing to be surprised at.  Also, when living in a rural area like I do, it can be common to see more than two people on one bike.  The most I have seen has been a family of 5 on one bike.  Yup, you read that right, 5 people one bike, mom, dad and three kids.  As for helmets, they are not used that often.  I so see people with them, but not a lot, and then they are not even wearing them properly.  But keep in mind that it is against the law to have more than two people on one bike, but in many places there is not a lot of police so they get away with a little more when it comes to traffic offenses.

There are also two types of police.  They have a traffic police and a criminal police.  Pretty much every town has the criminal police, but you will usually only find the traffic police in the bigger cities.  Criminal police wear all black uniforms, traffic police wear white shirts.  I have talked with the criminal police before just in passing, they have always been very nice and respectful to us.  I have seen the traffic police a few times, they like to set up check points and stop people to make sure they have a license.  They will also be carrying some serious weapons.   Many people who have motorcycles do not have the proper license for it, just like in the States you must have a motorcycle endorsement.  You can tell who don’t have it, when the see the check point they will immediately turn around and go the opposite direction and find a back road to come up.  They do also accept the American driver’s license here, so there is no need for an international permit.  But if you do get pulled over for something, be extremely respectful, they don’t take any crap.  They are also not allowed to keep your license for any reason, so don’t let them.  Cops are cops no matter where you go, you have good ones and bad ones.  So far I have only met good ones.

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2 responses

  1. So do you hear of much police corruption i.e. bribery, extortion, etc. like in many other “not 1st world” countries? My experiences in Mexico were that you didn’t trust the police, even though not all were bad, but you never could know.

  2. It does happen, like any where. I haven’t heard a lot about it. I have heard a few stories, but not many. Nothing that would make me not trust them at all. I pretty much see the cops in my town every time I go to the town’s center. They always smile and wave, very friendly. I have heard that you definitely don’t want to spend the night in a jail here. So all in all, I would say the good really out weighs the bad.

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