Motorcyclists violating traffic laws are a national epidemic; yet, politicians are on their side

Call motorcyclists the plague or just people commuting and earning a living. Whatever, the unchecked proliferation of motorcyclists on the road violating traffic laws has reached epidemic proportions.

The motorists again made frontpage headlines and became the trending topic when an answer by President Luis Abinader to the question as to when the government would begin to regulate motorcyclists led to fake news being disseminated in these days of the final stretch of the presidential elections. Abinader spoke of his government issuing new license plates (placas) to the motorcyclists because the previous ones were not readable. But this was disseminated in the fake news that said the President had called the motorcyclists “the plague” (plaga). The motorists took offense; politicians took their side.

In an editorial in Diario Libre, managing editor Benjamin Morales makes the supportive reaction of the politicians is evidence politicians are scared of the law-infringing motorcyclists. Morales highlights how the reaction of President Abinader and former President Leonel Fernandez to the fake news validated the power motorcycles have gained in the Dominican collective.

Former President Fernandez went so far as taking motorists to his weekly press conference to stress he backed these and did not see them as “the plague.”

Morales makes the point in his editorial with this kind of attitude by politicians the problem of motorcyclists will never be resolved in the Dominican Republic, where politicians seem to fear the power of the unions that represent these to stop public transport and deliveries.

“What I did find curious is that motorcyclists are offended because the concept of ‘the plague’ was used when referring to their behavior on the street, even though it was in fake news.

“Nobody here has asked that those who use their motorcycles to earn a living stop doing so. What is criticized is the terrible plague the actions on the roads of many motorcyclists, who do not respect traffic laws and endanger themselves with their actions and to many people every day, have become.

“So let’s not divert attention to the fundamental problem, which is the irresponsibility that most motorcyclists have with public safety and with their own safety, since quite a few end up dead or injured due to their recklessness,” writes Morales in the editorial.

Answering to questions about the laissez-faire of Land Traffic and Transit Agency (Digesett) agents to traffic violations, President Abinader said he was aware Digesett agents were applying the law. “Everyone has to respect traffic laws, or if not the situation becomes a chaos,” the President had said during the weekly press conference.

The reality, despite what the President has said, is that the situation is a chaos, with commuters, those riding on motorcycles, having to drive 200% of the defensive because of the epidemic of unlawful motorcyclists and the continuing of the laissez-faire attitude on behalf of Digesett.

The problem is decades in the making, with neither the Leonel Fernandez, Danilo Medina nor Luis Abinader administrations taking definite actions to check the traffic violations by the motocyclists.
Public health statistics today reveal that motorcyclists are involved in 80% of traffic accidents.

The question is whether the Abinader administration will make a difference and “take the bull by the horns” regarding motorcyclists normally violating traffic laws even in front of traffic agents.

Follow the story:
The President’s answer to question on motorcyclists
Abinader answers motorcyclist question
Hoy Mismo Matinal
Roberto Cavada
Diario Libre editorial
Diario Libre

15 May 2024