In Caracas, motorbikes have been the way to go to save money and to easily navigate through congested city streets. However, motorcyclists are now largely being blamed for creating chaos on the country’s roadways. CCTV’s Martin Markovits reports more.
Venezuela is the world’s third-worst country for motor vehicle-related deaths. Motorcyclists, or “motorizados” as locals call them, are largely at the center of this debate for public safety.
Local NGOs estimate three motorcyclists die every day in Venezuela. However, despite the risks, two-wheelers have become a way of life for many residents, like Roberto Colmenares.
Even after an almost fatal motorcycle accident that cost him his leg, Colmenares says he is committed to his profession. “I keep doing it because it’s my passion, I like bikes a lot,” he says. “Besides, in this period of my life, it’s my livelihood, I work as a motor taxi driver; I have no other source of income.”
Roberto Colmenares is not alone. It is estimated that there are some 800,000 registered bikes in Caracas, a city of three million, which is due in part to government policy and an influx of Chinese investment. Motorcycles made with Chinese’s parts have taken off in Venezuela, especially among the country’s poor. One can buy a bike for as little as 200 dollars on the black market.
Even so, the boom of motorcycles has also brought widespread criticism. Local media and pedestrians have decried bikers as a “plague” for their sheer numbers and frequent involvement in crimes.