One of the things that surprises many people who come to the Dominican Republic is the way people drive. In a place like New York city you have people cutting each other off, lots of traffic, people swerving in and out of lanes, bike messengers, pedestrians, the occasional animal and more. Here in the DR you have all that but with people who have never taken a driving course, don’t have a license, and kids as young as 10 years young driving (youngest I’ve seen).
On any given day you can spend thirty minutes to an hour by the street and see at least one of the pictures I’ve taken below. It’s very common to see the most random of things being carried on the back, side or top of a motorcycle.
So for starters lets say that your gas ran out half way in-between you preparing your meal. No worries, a quick phone call and someone on a motorcycle will take your tank to the local gas dispensary and bring it back. You would think that a full gas tank on the back of the moto, with no straps, would make someone more cautious of the way they drive but that is absolutely wrong.
Another issue is that some people have a lot of friends or family that
are too young to own a motorcycle or (that actually doesn’t matter) simply can’t afford one. No worries though because we can fit four to 7 people on one motorcycle.
But you say at least they’re wearing helmets right? Well apparently in the Dominican Republic you don’t actually need to have your helmet on. As long as it’s hanging off your steering wheel, on your lap or half-on-half-off the police don’t seem to mind.
Drinking and riding? No problem. This guy pulled up to me riding his moto with one hand and a beer in the other. He says “Salud Amigo” (meaning “cheers,” literally ” good health”) and proceeds to finish his beer before riding off.
Here we have a mother and child and as she pulled up to the corner the entire line of motoconchos (motorcycle taxis) started giving her a hard time for this one.
Motorcycles aren’t only for people though right! You can transport all kinds of things like ladders, wheelbarrows, 20 feet oft rebar and pvc pipe. How you ask? Just drag it behind you or sit on it.
For the most part when people saw me pointing my camera at them while riding they did nothing. That was until I went out a few days ago to get some more shots. I was standing out by the road for about two hours and in that time frame I got about half a dozen of these wonderful shots:
I don’t want to leave you with the last picture being a guy giving you, well…me, the middle finger so we’ll finish it off with one of a guy talking on his cell phone while riding his moto.
There are still a handful of things that I have seen people do in this country with their motorcycles but I have yet to catch them on camera. They don’t happen as frequently so it will take me a while. When I get those shots though I’ll make sure to throw them in this post for your viewing pleasure. Also, if you have any crazy pictures that you think would go with this photo essay let us know so we can include them and show you some credit love below!
Photo Credit: 7 people 1 moto – Don’t know who to credit on this so if you are the one who took the picture feel free to let me know and I’ll be more than happy to give you some credit here =).