In anti-crime move, national traffic authority outlaws most male passengers on motorcycles

Jun 9, 2022 | 25 comments

The National Traffic Agency announced Wednesday that motorcycles cannot carry adult male passengers on public roads and highways. According to Minister of Transportation Marcelo Cabrera, the new regulation is a response to the growing number of crimes committed by motorcycle with a driver and male passenger. He said there are exceptions to accommodate family transportation.

Effective immediately, motorcycles are restricted to carrying only the driver although there are exceptions for some family members.

According to police statistics, almost half of all crimes against persons committed in Ecuador involve motorcycles, most with a driver and passenger. In Quito and Cuenca, 30 percent of crimes are committed on motorcycles. In Guayaquil, the figure is 60 percent while it is 77 percent in Esmeraldas.

Among the most flagrant motorcycle crimes are hitman-style murders, the majority committed in Guayas, Manabi and Esmeraldas Provinces. Police report that of the murders committed on streets and highways, 70 percent involve motorcycles carrying a driver and shooter.

“These numbers have grown dramatically in the past two to three years,” says Cabrera. “We have also found 85,000 fraudulent licenses and registration documents during police roadside checks and we know this a small fraction of the total. The situation has gone out of control, requiring the new restrictions.”

He added that violators will be fined and their motorcycles confiscated. In cases where weapons are found, violators will face prison sentences.

Exceptions to the no-passenger rule include the transport of family members including wives and children (male children under 12) as well as other women and older adults. Adult males, even if they are family members, cannot be carried as passengers on motorcycles.

ANT Executive Director Adrián Castro, said municipalities can add complementary rules based on local conditions but must abide by the new national requirements.

According to Government Minister Francisco Jiménez, the motorcycle rule is part of the government’s plan to reduce crime nationally, but particularly in coastal areas where drug-related activity has led to the most violence. “This rule complements the law passed this week by the National Assembly increasing the allowable use of force to prevent crime. President Lasso understands that fighting crime and restoring public security is his most important job.”


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