Local motorcycle boom means more accidents, more licensing and inspection violations

Jun 18, 2019 | 9 comments

The number of motorcycles on Cuenca streets is skyrocketing. So are the number of motorcycle accidents and citations written for drivers.

A motorcyclist maneuvers between lanes of traffic, a violation under Ecuador law. (El Tiempo)

According to the Cuenca Mobility Corporation (EMOV) the number of motorcycles and motorized scooters operating in the municipality has more than doubled in less than three years, growing from 6,465 at the end 2016 to 14,400 through the first half of 2019.

According to Carlos Balarezo, EMOV director, more than 75 percent of accidents involving motorcycles are the fault of drivers. “The majority are the result of incompetence,” he says. “Disrespect for traffic lanes and traffic signals are reasons for the majority of accidents involving motorcycles with drunken driving responsible for about 10 percent of them.”

From January and May of 2019 there were 108 accidents involving motorcycles, EMOV reports, compared to 76 in the same period of 2016. Three motorcyclists have died so far in 2019.

Particularly alarming, says Balarezo, is that large number of drivers are not licensed to drive motorcycles. “The law requires that motorcycle operators have the motorcycle type A license but many of those we ticket are driving with the type B automobile license or no license at all.”

To earn the type A license, drivers must take a two week motorcycle operator class.

In addition to citations for improper licensing, Balarezo said that more than a hundred have been issued for motorcycles that do not have a current inspection certificate. In all, more than 900 citations have been written for violations since the beginning of the year.

So far in 2019, EMOV has impounded 500 motorcycles, mostly for license violations and drunk driving.

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