Motoconchos or Moto-Unconscious

cbello

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Nov 19, 2004
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I am wondering if anyone has had bad experience with motoconchos and if anyone is as nervous as me when taking that mode of transportation? Instinctively I would be against this way of getting around but I have seen so many of them that I am wondering if I am over-careful.

This has got to be one of the most unorthodox method to move people or freight. I have seen so many of them on the road, that one day of the year where the driver has to wear a helmet, any kind of helmet, it does not matter. Passengers don?t count it would seem, I guess the authorities figure that as long as one out of 6 people wear a helmet (and that is on one bike) the chances of saving one of them has already increased. Interestingly enough the law is written so loosely that about the only head dress that is not considered a helmet has to be a baseball cap. I have seen them with (of all things) a hockey helmet. Now that one really surprised me, where would the person that has no idea of what ice is, other than something you put in a glass, find equipment designed to be worn on the ice, never mind using that to protect against a motorcycle accident.

Interestingly enough I have also seen them move all sorts of cargo, 100lbs propane tanks, washing machines to unbelievably XXX Large 400lbs tourists. I am still wondering how the bike managed to take off on corners Anyone that has ever driven a motorcycle, not just passenger on one of those things, would know that steering a motorcycle has nothing to do where you sit. It is not because you have the handlebars in your hands that you necessarily decide where you are aiming the contraption. I have seen this XXX-Large tourist that would keep looking to the left of the person in front of him, the supposedly driver, and each time the motoconchos would literally move to the left about 10 feet. Luckily for the tourist and driver the XXX-Large tourist did not do that when a bus or truck was coming. I would have loved to see the drivers face when the tourist leaned to the left.

I have also seen entire families on one motorcycle, to the point where there were so many people animals and things that it looked like a clump of people just floating a few inches above the asphalt with a whining sound. It looked so much like a surrealist science fiction clip. There where so many things sticking out and I am not talking of just people but also the family pets (pig), next week?s lunch (pig also), next Easter?s buffet (dozen chickens) and a few old bags such as mother in law. All you could see is people, small and large just whizzing by and the bike was totally hidden by people, things and luggage. :paranoid:
 

MrMike

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Mar 2, 2003
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Never known anybody in the DR who used a motorcycle as a primary form of transportation who didn't pay a heavy price for it.

From brain damage and lost limbs to instant death, the price is high.

Most DR drivers have no business operating a motor vehicle, and even if you do everything right there's no reason to think the other people on the road will.
 

HOWMAR

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Jan 28, 2004
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Some people just never learn

In Puerto Plata we have a guy that works for our A/C contractor that has had amputations of both arms at the elbow and one leg. Making conversation, I asked him about his accident. He informed me that he had not one, but two seperate accidents on motos. The first cost him one arm, and in the second a year later he lost his other arm and a leg. He is amazing that he uses no crutches and hops on one leg. He is even able to hop up a ladder to supervise the A/C techs. What is even crazier, you can see him in downtown Puerto Plata still getting rides on motoconchos.
 

Jostan

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Jun 17, 2006
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A guy I know from Cabarete died about 2 weeks ago, a truck hit him while he was on his moto.
Another friend of me was in accident about 3/4 weeks ago, ofcourse he didnt wear a helmet an he landed on his head. Considering that he was very lucky, he 'only' broke his cheek bone and had a severe concusion (no idea how to spell that word, hope everybody knows what I mean). He's still not allowed to eat or speak, but he will be alright in time.

Driving a motor anywhere is much more dangerous than a car, plus that in the DR people dont wear helmets, plus most roads are bad, plus (some) people drive like crazy!

So I dont think you are being over-carefull, it IS very dangerous.

That being said, I do take motoconchos, but I do try to go only with people that I know (so i know their driving style) and to be honest, Im not scared at all, but I do know it's dangerous. Dont really have a choice either, unless I want to go walking everywhere :)

But for bigger distances I definetly take a guagua or a publico (not that they're ultra safe :ermm:)
 

Rick Snyder

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Nov 19, 2003
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Cbello,

I wish to first state that the laws are not loosly written. They are very clear as to the type of helmet must be used. The problem is and always has been in the enforcement of said laws. Amount of people on a motorcycle and two hands on the steering have been a part of the laws for a long time. The problems always seem to fall back on the police and their lack of enforcement of the laws on the books.

Having said that then I will also say that when I mount one of these modes of transportation I do it by myself and get one for each member of my family. I also instruct all three drivers that they are not to exceed 35 km per hour. This insure less injuries if there is an accident versus 60 or more km per hr. If they exceed the desired speed I stop them and dismount without payment. They learn quickly. I understand that the typical Dominican can't hire more then one motor but as it is the safety of my family and I can I do. That is how I try to cambat the problem.

Rick
 

skyblue

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Mar 20, 2006
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these motochoncheros are the ones that keep the public hospital very very busy.
 

senorblanco

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Jun 11, 2006
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I drive a big motorcylce. I dont use a helmut. And, well , of course Im always a little scared. And always super careful. I dont drie over 80 on open streches and I NEVER EVER drive at night or after drinking.
If you drive a motorcylce or motorconch here after dark you are in serious danger
Sorry Cyabye but the truth is the truth if you dont like it dont read these important posts.
Im always as careful as I can be but its not me Im woried about its everyone else. These guys drive like maniacs, they drive with 4 people on a motorconch and the driver has a bid botle of rum in one of his hands.
My advice is only drive where you know the road, drive slowly, wear a helmut, never drink and drive and never never never drive at night
I have heard dozens of horror stories , I dont want to be one myself.
...i think its time I buy a helmut!!!!
 

bienamor

Kansas redneck an proud of it
Apr 23, 2004
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and

Bob K said:
In the hopsital ER's in the US we sometimes call them donor cycle.:ermm:

I believe the Helmet is called a brain bucket, gives you someplace to hold the scraping's.
 

louise1182

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Jul 10, 2006
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motoconchos

Avoid using these at all costs.
My nephew's girlriend was killed only 4 weeks ago now by a tourist in a hire car. she was on the back of the bike and died instantly. She was 17 years old and left behind an 18 month old son. what a waste of life. the driver of the bike escaped with scratches
They are the cause of most deaths in DR.
 

Victor Laszlo

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Aug 24, 2004
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Jostan said:
Dont really have a choice either, unless I want to go walking everywhere :)
Unfortunately, this is the reality for the average Dominican. Safer alternatives are beyond their financial reach. I'm sure they would rather use taxis if they could.

As for riding three or four on one bike, well the money they would spend for extra motos may be money they need to buy today's dinner.
 

MrMike

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Mar 2, 2003
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I believe this is untrue.

I have seen that Dominicans dispise walking anywhere and can often be overheard making fun of foreigners walking down the street instead of driving or riding a motoconcho.

In any case a concho ride is both cheaper and safer than a motoconcho, so is OMSA, assuming there really is a good reason not to walk.