Throughout Mexico the motorcycle or scooter is ubiquitous. After all, such vehicles are relatively cheap to buy and to operate and quick for getting around on. And their limited carrying capacity has not been a serious obstacle to carrying all sorts of freight and people.
For many, it is the family (of three or more) vehicle.
So it’s not surprising that statistics show a fivefold increase in the number of two-wheelers on the streets of Mexico over the past dozen years. Nor is it surprising that that only 10% of those vehicles carry insurance, and that no testing of any kind is required to operate one.
Mexico stands out in the latter respect. It is the only country in Latin America that doesn’t require some sort of test, be it physical, medical, theoretical or practical, to hop on a bike with two or three of your best buddies and head for the taquería.
According to the national statistics agency Inegi, there are 1.6 million motorcycles on the streets of Mexico, one for every five automobiles. The ratio was one for every 19 in 2001. The result of this growth, as is the case elsewhere in Latin America, can be vehicular anarchy.
Although you don’t need a licence to operate a motorcycle, there is an age requirement. At 15 years, Mexico isn’t the lowest in this respect, that distinction goes to Costa Rica, where anyone aged 13 and up can ride a bike, according to a study by the Spain-based Mapfre Foundation.
In Brazil the process of obtaining a motorcycle licence can take up to a year. The student must first pass theory and practical tests, after which he is given a one-year temporary licence to gain experience. The official licence is awarded to those who commit no infractions during the year.
Source: El Financiero (sp)