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Riding a motorcycle in the countries of Central and South America is often a real pleasure.

 

Outside the cities there is not much traffic and the roads are rather good for the most of the time, at least until here. Speed ‚Äč‚Äčlimits are purely theoretical, no one bothers, at least not those who can afford a fast car. I drive at high speed most of the time, while the small bikes people have here are quickly out of breath. This might be a reason why the bikers like to watch mine, they wave at me, cheer me up to show how it accelerates. This even counts for the police as well. For instance, when at one of the many checkpoints I ask them about the time and distance till the next city, I often I get answers like: "Two hours, but with your bike, you're going to do in an hour. " They laugh, mimicking a motorcyclist lying on his bike, the throttle set at full speed. Then they wonder about the cylinders, power, speed, price of my bike. Even if I review the last one sharply downward, they often wonder why I did not buy a car for all that money.


Colombia is the country where I saw the most bikes so far; they’re just everywhere. The country is so biker friendly, that on motorway toll stations, there is always a special passage for bikes, and even toll free! The law of biggest number helping, in the cities bikers rules, sneaking around everywhere, and I have to be very concentrated to monitor all possible places from which a motorcycle can emerge without the least respect of priority rules.

 

There are also those who do mototaxi. I used this service several times in Colombia, while running the city, hunting for stamps, certificates and other documents. For a ridiculous price and a free dose of adrenaline one gets quickly everywhere. Wearing a helmet is mandatory, so the driver always carries one for his passenger; size XXL that fits all. The helmet has no visor or strap attachment and it must always be hold to prevent it from blowing away.

 

I have the impression that many people here are not the best drivers, but it's no big deal because for the most part, they drive very slowly. Their system of indicators, however, is enigmatic. Often they drive with hazard lights on: This can be either to signal some danger, either because they drive slowly, or that they intend to stop. When they intend to change direction, the rule is rather not blink; only in the city they make hand signs. Things get tricky when I drive behind a car, and the driver puts the left indicator on.  I never know if this is an invitation for me to pass, or if the car will turn left; it actually can mean both…