I love my moto. In this land where having a car is a symbol of success, I thumb my nose at status and have voluntarily chosen this form of transportation. Most roads were designed for burros anyway and it takes some doing to cross town with even a small car, much less a truck like Butch. Using my moto makes every trip to town an adventure as I zoop around slow moving vehicles, piles of donkey dung and crater-sized potholes, outrun furious Chihuahuas nipping at my heels and fly over topes (speed bumps) just like a racing video game.
Parking is a breeze and, for the most part, I can cut around heavy traffic, go up one-way streets the wrong way, pass turning vehicles and park practically on the sidewalk. And I can haul more than you would think possible since my moto has a glove box and the seat opens for storage plus there is a front floor board to set plants or grocery bags or a small child on.
My husband added to his moto cargo capacity with a nifty little cart and we only have to use Butch the truck for large hauls.
I must admit it is sort of cold some mornings with the wind rippling through your hair, but we dig out our scarves and mittens and bravely press on. It is also less than enjoyable to be a moto driver during the rainy season when buckets of ice-cold droplets pelt your face, leaving you drenched to your chonies (underwear). I have taken the precaution of keeping my bright yellow rain poncho in my moto at all times. I know I must look like a giant yellow canary, but it keeps most of the wet off.
Driving a moto isn’t as easy as you might think. Although my moto is not one where I need to change gears like my husband’s, I still have to balance a bit. As I mentioned, there are all sorts of road hazards to maneuver around: Pot holes, open or missing manhole covers, topes (speed bumps), construction material left in the road, uneven pavement, pedestrians, animals, babies running barefoot, double or triple parked cars, cars swerving around buses in the opposite direction, burros tied along the side of the road or roaming loose, etc.
Other moto drivers are often the most dangerous road hazard. They seem to have no concern in following the general traffic rules and weave in and out of traffic, up one-way streets the wrong way, up on sidewalks, around turning vehicles, directly in front of moving cars and more. They also can be carrying up to 5 persons each moto, with or without helmets or other safety devices. Sometimes without lights. Men, women and children ride motos, here not just Hell’s Angels. Newborns are wrapped in a rebozo and carried by the helmeted mother while the 2 & 3-year-olds stand on the floorboard of the moped and the bigger child rides backwards on the back. Imagine trying to balance that load of wiggle worms! Beware of the motos I say!
Helmet use is mandatory in some areas, optional in others. But in most cases, even when helmet use is mandatory, it seems to be just fine if the rider is wearing a plastic toy fireman’s helmet with a string under the chin to keep in on. We err on the side of safety in our household and require at least a bike helmet or stronger for both riders and drivers. Yet even wearing a big heavy moon landing helmet, my mother-in-law did not escape severe head trauma when mowed down my a police vehicle cruising at more than 200 mph. (See On life and liberty).
I also take the precaution of not taking my moto on roads where there will be fast and furious traffic patterns. In truth, it scares me to hear an 18 wheeler barreling behind me and not knowing if hugging the line will give it enough room to pass. For superhighway trips, we use the bus or take Butch, the truck. But my moto is the bomb to get to and from town and in the event of a flat, not so heavy that it can’t be pushed home for repairs.