(The contents of this website are mine personally and do not reflect any position of the U.S. government or the Peace Corps.)

In the mid-2000s motorcycles started pouring onto the Paraguayan market. Rebranded Chinese rides like Moto Star, Kenton and Yamazuki were not only affordable to the masses with no money down financing yah-yah, but with no drivers test nor need to know how to ride, they could be purchased on a whim by just about anyone; and they were.

Not surprisingly, this lawlessness has caused an epidemic.

The vast majority of riders don’t bother with those “cumbersome” helmets or any sort of protective gear, nor are laws regarding helmets, a diver’s age or the number of passengers enforced. This free-for-all mess is the IV drip into the growing statistics on motorcycle accident related deaths and disabilities. It used to be that the causes of disabled Paraguayans were unpreventable; birth defects or illnesses. But those stats have been squashed by the motorized big-wheels and their sandal wearing throttle jockeys. 

This afternoon, I stepped out of my house and noticed a crowd surrounding a motionless body lying in the street just three houses down. Her pants had been dragged down over her bottom, she had no helmet, and people were taking pictures. The reaction from the neighbors was something disengaged, along the lines of Queen’s famed tune, “Another One Bites the Dust.”

When destructive side effects like this become culturally “well, that’s just how it is” accepted, resolutions don’t come quick.