Just got back from Dominican Republic, where motorcycle/scooter appears to be the preferred mode of travel (only affordable?) for a lot of locals.
No helmets. Saw 3 helmets, one was a full faced..
Some had a working headlight, and tail light, but rarely both.
Families of 3 or even 4 on a 100cc motorcycle, threading their way through traffic. Babies in arms, scooting along at 50 kph on the shoulder of the road.
Cargo, such as pigs, water jugs, propane tanks, construction tools and equipment, all on small motorcycles.
In contrast to our highly regulated, "safety-ized," world, the majority of this world's population survives on basic skills and common sense. Even the simple act of embarking on a 40 foot glass bottom boat would have the safety mavens having fits. And yet, this goes on all the time, in most of the world.
Interesting contrast, is how the theme comes across to me.
The asphalt, probably 45 wife on most of the roads I encountered, had no center line. Vehicles merely travelled in the spots without the pot holes. So if a large tour bus rolled down into first gear, and drove into the opposing lane of traffic, smaller vehicles could pass it on it's right. If another, oncoming vehicle, wanted to navigate the rough section, it too, would pass on the "opposite," side.
As if lanes existed, not on the ground, but in the trajectory of the vehicle passing over it. Near misses? I wonder what a near miss is. George Carlin says a miss is a miss, a near miss is a collision.
No anger, no hand waiving, or fingering, the occasional "beep," as an attention getter, and smaller, slower traffic gave way.
I'm beginning to like that idea. I never saw the equivalent of a Geo Metro grinding up an upgrade, that did not yield to faster traffic. The concept of "left lane Louie's," doesn't seem to exist there.
Despite traffic is moving around you, on both sides, both oncoming and from behind, there appears to be respect for the individual motorist/cyclist to have an exit route, or easy manner of yielding for "larger and faster."
Interesting to watch, more interesting to ride a bike in.
Perhaps then, in Canada, it's the attitude of the driver's, more than the construction of the road, size of the tail lights, the lane markings or the signs alongside the road?
I dunno, but it was refreshing to see so many motorists, and so many cell phones, but neither being used *at the same time.*
I'm off to renew the plate on my bike now...with a renewed sense of integrating into traffic....
Anyone else sense a vast difference in motoring skills from North Americans to other parts of the world?