Drivers of “Motorcycles Disguised as Bicycles” Would Have To Be Licensed in Costa Rica

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    The authorities of the Road Safety Council (Cosevi) are analyzing the possibility of requiring driver’s licenses for drivers of bicycles assisted by electricity or gasoline.The decision is based on the growth of this type of vehicle in the country, especially in the food delivery sector.

    Cindy Coto, director of Cosevi, stated that the project is moving forward and that there is already a technical report.Currently, these vehicles operate without a license, technical inspection, speed limit or license. Motorized or assisted bicycles are flooding the country’s streets, raising road safety concerns.

    The phenomenon has been growing for several years, but in recent months their presence has been noticeable at traffic lights, streets, parking lots and rural areas, where they are fast becoming the favorite means of transportation.

    Camouflaged motorcycles

    They are “camouflaged motorcycles with pedals” and, as such, must be regulated to avoid fatal accidents, according to Roy Rojas, former Project Director of the Road Safety Council.In essence, the law states that if a two-wheeler has pedals, it cannot be considered a motorcycle.

    The growth of motorized or power-assisted bikes is due in part to the rise of delivery platforms, which have become popular in recent years as a source of work.The affordable price of these vehicles, some as low as ¢300 thousand, makes them a cheap mobility option.

    This issue has been analyzed for years, but no decision has been made due to its social impact, according to the technical report in question.On the other hand, Costa Rica faces a road safety crisis with high rates of traffic accidents.

    In 2022, the country registered 847 people killed due to crashes, rollovers or speeding, and in 2023 the figure rose to 855, according to statistics from the Judicial Investigation Organism (OIJ).Half of the on-site deaths corresponded to people traveling in two-wheeled vehicles.

    The differences

    “Right now, we have a silent epidemic. Fatalities are growing and nothing the State has done so far has even managed to contain them,” said David Gómez, consultant in Sustainable Mobility.Any vehicle that has pedals cannot be considered a motorcycle and, therefore, no license, technical inspection or license is required, according to the MOPT.

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