Costa Rica News – If anyone has ever driven in Costa Rica, you will have seen the motorcycles weaving in an out of traffic lanes and getting to places much faster and more dangerously than other drivers on the road.
That translates into 215 new motorcycles every day or nine every hour, according to the national property registry, the Registro Nacional.
Congestion, lower prices and access to credit, are the contributing to the rapid growth in the number of motorcycles in the country, which translates into more revenue for the economy, but also a growing public health problem for the deaths and accidents associated with the motorcycle.
China is still the main market for most motorcycles imported into the country. In the first half of 2016 38.818 motorcycles were registered, mostly from China, the leading supplier of motorcycles in the country. Industry estimates released by the association of motorcycle importers (Importadores de Motocicletas y Afines – AIMA) projected the registration of more than 75,000 units by the end of 2016.
In 2015, the daily average was 153; in total, 55.962 units were registered in the year.
Competition. The motorcycle market is dominated by four brands, making up 54% (20,600 units) of registrations in 2015. Freedom was the brand with the most registrations last year, however, for the first half of 2016, the Serpento (by Grupo Monge) moved it to second place. In third and fourth place are Honda and Formula for the latter period.
According to the Ministerio de Hacienda (Finance Ministry), 80% of all motorcycles arriving in Costa Rica in 2015 came from China. Five years ago it was 73%.
Carlos Federico Monge, director of Grupo Monge, told La Nacion , “motorcycles manufactured in China allow for sales of a good quality product at a better (lower) price, which has been key to competition in the sector.”
Motorcycles A Deadly. In the first quarter of 2016, 4.946 motorcyclists injured were treated at the Trauma Hospital. That figure is 738 more than in the same period in 2015.
During the first nine months of the year, more than 150 people died in a motorcycle accident, making it the deadliest vehicle.
In total, during this period, 326 people have died in traffic accidents, which means the motorcycle is involved in 46% of the accidents.
There are several factors contributing to the high incidents of injuries and fatalities, inexperience and compounded by the informality of the use the motorcycle.
In 2015, 3 out of 10 motorcycles failed the vehicular inspection on first rest, according to data from Riteve. In the same year, the INS listed 217,856 motorcycles for the circulation permit (Marchamo), but only 51.7% were inspected by Riteve. (The vehicular inspection is a pre-requisite for the Marchamo for all vehicles in the country).
And precisely because of lack of such permits is the reason for the accumulation of thousands of motorcycles in the patios (impound lots) of the Cosevi and the Ministry of Public Works and Transport (MOPT).