Is Mexico Safe?

Discussion in 'Americas' started by Arte, Feb 1, 2010.

  1. Animo

    Animo Been n00b awhile Supporter

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    95% of motorcycle accidents I see on the news happened at night.

    It’s a combination of events. Animals on the road, broken down trucks left in the middle of the lane behind a curve until the next morning, hidden topes, weak headlights on vehicles, if at all, and drunk drivers, amongst others.

    It’s wise to live with the 3 fingers rule. Once the sun is setting, place 3 fingers diagonally on the horizon, when the sun is on top of the top finger it’s when you start looking for a hotel.
  2. pceire32

    pceire32 Irish Supporter

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    Thats OK ! I will miss out ! I will also miss out on the numerous accidents I have seen on the Baja roads at night !
    “Total experience “ no capability of seen anything since it is dark !:-)
    Animo likes this.
  3. stormdog

    stormdog Long timer

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    Sjoerd I checked a map, and I believe 182 is the road I took.
    Though from memory, calling it a “highway” seems a bit optimistic.
    Either 182 or 175 are worth the time to ride, combined they are world class.
    Ending at the playa with an afternoon cocktail is a bonus.
    You and I are certainly “brothers from different mothers”
    I am a rider who likes to travel, and you appear to be a traveler who likes to ride. But it sure would be a boring world if we were all alike.
    ScotsFire, Cal and noshoes like this.
  4. Sjoerd Bakker

    Sjoerd Bakker Long timer

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    768F1036-21A5-4CB0-A4BB-7FD6B4D64390.jpeg
    I dug out my photo of that landslide across highway Mex 182 , first in line .It was indeed a highway in 2006 and in every succeeding passage I have made use of it ,being asphalt covered and with many curves in the mountains . In later passages I tried to recognize this location but failed because all the bare earth had been reclaimed by the greenery.
    Pavement quality may vary , but that is a predictable outcome of budget restrictions on upkeep, wet-seasonal weather and as in this case recovery after landslides .
    Do not be confused about the definition of “ highway” , as if it means only a high speed paved major road.
    A highway can be any well engineered purpose built for public- use road to serve as a primary connection between population centres. It may be paved or it may be gravel .

    One’s appreciation of a highway can be strongly influenced by one’s state of mind at time of use .
    If one is speeding or in a hurry or inattentive one might consider the merest curve and bump as a bloody annoying nuisance holding one back from a “cocktail.”
    Riding a sinuous mountain highway at night will require severe speed reduction and that highway may then be remembered as a slow-going torture .Ridden in daylight at appropriate speed that same route might be recalled as a delightful dance around the curves and any potholes could probably be avoided without bending wheel rims. Bikes ,having one track , are designed to dodge potholes by riding the lands but one needs to look ahead .
  5. ScotsFire

    ScotsFire And then a drifter rode into town... Supporter

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    I am missing out on a lot, as I try hard to not ride after dark in most places including near my home in North Idaho. There are times I would rather not drive my truck after dark.

    I understand the feeling though as I actually like riding after dark. It does give a different perspective and often the road and environs just plain look cool.
  6. Green-ee

    Green-ee Been here awhile

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    I don't see how it is possible never to ride at night on a trip; coming back from a restaurant, returning from a party or event, or just from general sightseeing. Nighttime photos are some of my favorites to look back at. Digital cameras with a low light lens makes for some amazing scenes that capture in a small way the social life and interesting lighting of town squares, cathedrals, and city life.
    I prefer riding during daylight hours - mostly because of the wildlife here in Maine (deer and moose) and the animals on the roads in Mexico.
    My point was that driving or riding at night in Mexico is not what it used to be. In much of Mexico nationals own much better cars with functioning headlights and taillights. Speaking of lighting - the options motorcyclists have now (compared to the sealed beam headlights of the past) greatly improve nighttime visibility. Headlights aren't only brighter but many are focused better putting light on the road rather than the sky. LED bulbs can replace dimmer incandescent tail and brake lights. Bus drivers aren't as belligerent as they used to be. Trucks are in a better state of repair - I rarely ever encounter broken down vehicles left in the travel lanes.
    When we camped in Sinaloa years ago it was SOP to leave Durango two or three in the morning to get ahead of the westbound truck traffic - before the toll road was built. In many ways it was safer than daytime as we didn't meet many trucks negotiating sharp turns or have to make a sketchy pass to get past creeping trucks.
    We've left predawn on the motorcycle from Palenque to avoid protests that closed 199 later in the day.
    While I prefer riding in full light I've come to learn that nighttime travel is not nearly as dangerous as it once was.
    81GSJake and noshoes like this.
  7. Yinzer Moto

    Yinzer Moto Long timer Supporter

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    It is possible, if you don’t want to ride at night. I don’t like riding at night, no matter what country I am in. With about 100k miles of motorcycle touring, over the last 10 years, all around North America, I can think of one time I have ridden at night. Just like decisions on how much protective clothing someone wants to wear on the bike, riding at night can be a choice.

    Prior to those last ten years, I did ride at night, then a friend was on a cross country trip. He tried to get a motel but everything was sold out and had to push on to the next town. He did not make it to the next town, a deer took him out. I am sure we all have stories of people getting taking out in broad daylight but that event was enough for me to decide not to ride at night.
    jruba, GuateRider and pceire32 like this.
  8. Green-ee

    Green-ee Been here awhile

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    There's little even the best rider can do to prevent a deer strike. High noon in Mesa Verde National Park 10 of us were riding in a group when at least 10 deer crossed the road as we passed. Not one of us was hit - it was like the June Taylor Dancers. Amazing to witness and to come through unscathed.
    When I think of deer strikes I always think of Lawrence Grodsky :
    “Lawrence Grodsky, a nationally known motorcycle safety expert and author who taught thousands of riders to handle themselves on the roads, died Saturday on his bike in Fort Stockton, Texas, after being hit by a deer.
    He was 55, and had been on his way from a safety conference in California to Pittsburgh for his mother’s 85th birthday, said his sister, Marcia Grodsky.
    ‘Larry was the most talented, experienced and competent motorcyclist in the country, but this is the one thing he knew he couldn’t do anything about,’ said his girlfriend, Maryann Puglisi, with whom he lived in Squirrel Hill and Washington, D.C., and who helped run his business.
    ‘Just a few weeks ago he said to me, ‘That’s how I’m going to go, it’s going to be a deer.’ He could deal with all the idiot drivers, but at night when a deer jumps in your path, that’s it and he knew that.’” http://thescooterscoop.com/2006/04/...sky-top-american-expert-on-motorcycle-safety/

    I've not encountered many deer at all in Mexico. Burros, goats, dogs and beeves, but never a deer. The density of deer in Mexico appears to be greatly less than in much of the US
  9. jonz

    jonz Miles are my mantra Supporter

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    I enjoy riding at night in the desert at night. I rediscovered my love of desert night rides last year returning home from near Lake Mead in Nevada to the California desert. I have electric heated clothing and spent $$$$ on great lighting. I've ridden at night in Baja and felt safe, particularly on dirt side roads. I've had to ride in mainland Mexico a few times at night in rural areas for an hour or two to reach my destination and that was okay but felt a little more sketchy so I adjusted my speed way way down. I don't like riding at night near big cities in Mexico due to experiences family and others have had with the criminal elements. In Montana, I occasionally ride at night but I don't like it due to the high number or large critters (deer, bears, elk, moose, antelope, and bison) all of which I have seen on the road at night. And I don't like riding at night on Friday or Saturday nights due to the increased number of drunks on the road on those nights.
  10. JuddS

    JuddS Been here awhile Supporter

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    I'm always interested in the topic of safety and how to become a more safe rider. But, it always seems that people are talking about anecdotal experiences and never about the facts or statistics. I know that good statistics are hard to come by with any type of motorcycle riding, much less breaking it down to night vs day riding. I've spent half my adult life south of the boarder and in my 20s and 30s was exploring the pacific coast from Mexico down to Panama surfing as many of the beaches as possible. We would often drive at night as we would surf the evening session and drive home in the dark. I remember thinking during those days that driving at night was really dangerous. Now, I've been riding and not driving and do spend a fair amount of time riding at night. I absolutely love to spend 10 hours or more in the saddle and often that means that last few hours at night in the dark when I'm tired. Of course, fatigue and night driving are two things that I shouldn't combine, but I do sometimes. I've learned in my 40's to just slow down at night and cut my speed so that I can stop within a safe distance. I dont really find it much more dangerous that riding during the day as I'm just going so much slower. With that being said, I did almost rear end a scooter in Colombia a few months ago who had zero light on his bike and was doing about 20mph and I was at 50mph. I would have seen him in the daylight, but didn't at night.

    So, my question is, does anyone have any sort of concrete thoughts on how much more dangerous it is to ride at night? I know some people say its 35 times more dangerous to ride a bike than drive a car and I think that is about correct. But, what about a sober experienced rider at night who lowers their speed vs what they do in the daytime??? I'm not sure its too much more dangerous.
  11. Animo

    Animo Been n00b awhile Supporter

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    Watch this news channel’s stream at 4pm/5pm/6pm (central us time zone) and you can personally see what kind of road dangers we’re presented with every day.

    https://www.forotv.mx/

    I’ve ridden at night plenty of times. There are a few highways I would ride at night without much worries, mostly in the Yucatán peninsula. They’re separated lanes, with very little traffic at night. I would not ride at night anywhere else in Mexico unless I’m looking for a place to stay or didn’t have a choice.

    One time I rode from Veracruz to Playa, a 17 hour ride, the last 6hrs were at night. It would have been 1hr shorter had I not stopped on the Merida/Playa Cuota to look at the amazing stars. It was so dark I could not see my hand in front of my face. That stretch of road was like riding in a planetarium.
  12. jonz

    jonz Miles are my mantra Supporter

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    Here's a link to some NHTSA stats which show fatalities and injuries by time of day.
    https://cdan.nhtsa.gov/SASStoredProcess/guest
  13. JuddS

    JuddS Been here awhile Supporter

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    I love Forotv. The women anchors dress quite differently than in the USA and I always feel like I'm watching a telenovela about the news. Lots of murder any mayhem, but at the end of the days its entertainment news. Looking for shock stories to get clicks so they can make money. A bad accident may make the news nightly, but they don't show the millions of safe trips made that day. It all comes down to statistics for me. If there are a million safe night trips (perhaps that number is totally wrong) and one television worthy blood car crash they can shock us with, that doesn't mean that its dangerous to drive at night.

    I'm willing to take risks that are low probability of death. Hell, NASA just came out with updated statistics that some extremely large meteor they have been tracking is now at a 1 and 1000 chance of hitting us relatively soon. But, I dont stay at wake at night worrying about a 1 and 1000 chance of death.
    roadcapDen and Animo like this.
  14. Kiko

    Kiko Been here awhile

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    From my experience the biggest fear of riding in Mexico has been complacency.
    (“a feeling of quiet pleasure or security, often while unaware of some potential danger")
  15. whizzerwheel

    whizzerwheel Unimaginative Lab Rat Supporter

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    Good point, and therein lies the reason people are so fearful in general. We get inundated with so much hyperbole and drama from the media and media personalities, that we begin to believe it's the norm.
    Loadtoad101 and Green-ee like this.
  16. JuddS

    JuddS Been here awhile Supporter

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    @jonz that is a very interesting link. Its hard for me to really have many "take away's" from the TRAFFIC SAFETY FACTS 2019 that seems to have the most statistics. I infer that I need to not ride drunk and wear my helmet. And have a motorcycle license. But the time of day stuff doesn't really tell me much as they give the number of crashes per period of time (ex. midnight to 3am) but they don't say how many people are riding at those hours. Most people crash in the afternoon, but I'm sure that is because that is when most people are riding.

    Anyway, just the exercise of me reading a document like that helps me to remember to focus on safety as I go about my daily rides. About 3 nights a week I take an hour to hour and a half cruise on the highways of the Chicago area and stay on the slab. Its all well lit and wide lanes and I really find this to be a safe place to ride at night. When I saw some stats a few months ago about crashes by type of road, it seemed to me like big slab riding was one of the safest things to do (other than slow speed ADV). There are no left turning cars on the slab to crush me and I like that. I don't like the thought of hitting a deer at 80mph or above though when on a nightly ride. I've had three close deer encounters on bikes over the last 20 plus years and few hundred thousand miles of riding and what I learned is that you don't see them until its too late. The kind of jump out of ones peripheral vision and there is no time to react. When riding, I'm always watching the terrain and thinking about where I would set up a tree stand to hunt because the deer would like those areas. Then I just slow down when I see those types of areas. I used to think that the Animal Caution signs were put up by people in the DOT who were hunters and knew the types of places where deer would potentially cross, but then I read that they just put up a sign after a certain number of deer have been hit by cars in a certain stretch of road.
  17. Animo

    Animo Been n00b awhile Supporter

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    The driver who fell asleep at the wheel of a double trailer last night, involving 4 other vehicles is not hyperbole. Neither is the drunk driver last night who injured 4 others, to name just a couple events.

    This is not the states. Our roads magically disappear, one moment you’re on pavement, in a split second the road turns to loose gravel or mud, there aren’t any warning signs.

    A bridge washed away? There is a makeshift dirt side road to go around it, no warning signs whatsoever, the only indications are some wooden poles and tree branches at the beginning of the bridge to block passage. Good luck seeing that at night.

    We ride along under an overpass, there’s no warning sign that it’s flooded in 4ft of water.

    Roads are badly lit, if at all. No cops (they don’t patrol at night, it’s too dangerous), no buses, no phone signal, you’re on your own.

    We have maybe 5% of vehicles on the road at night, yet most deadly accidents happen during that time.

    Riding at night simply isn’t safe, regardless of how bad ass of an adventure rider one is.

    All I can tell you is that I stopped doing a lot of stupid shit on my bike the past few years, riding at night is one of them. YMMV
    frog4aday, knight, severely and 9 others like this.
  18. WileyRTW

    WileyRTW Wiley

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    I feel the "no ridding at night" moto in Mexico is geared more to traveling between destinations more than bouncing around locally...even though things can go wrong anytime I personally don't take it to mean no bike after dark. Doesn't matter I don't do it much since I don't love it, but do agree it is fun in the desert!
  19. Yinzer Moto

    Yinzer Moto Long timer Supporter

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    Larry is the person who I was referring to. He was a friend. I ended up buying 2 of his bikes from his mother after things settled down.

    He also did not like to ride at night. As I explained, the hotel situation forced his hand
  20. JuddS

    JuddS Been here awhile Supporter

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    @Animo well, i can see your perspective and at the end of the day we all make our own choices about the level of risk we are willing to take. I do and will continue to ride at night as i dont view the risks as too great for me. I have good eyes, years of experience and decent judgment. Am i increasing my risk of a cash? Of course, but its a risk i decide to take and manage the risk as best i can.

    I do strongly disagree with looking at isolated incidents highlighted by the media and drawing an overall conclusion from them. Im in chicago now and yesterday in a 12 hour period like 14 people were shot and 5 of them in the rich aka white neighborhoods. I was out and about yesterday and actually saw the police at 2 locations and drove by 2 other locations where shootings occurred later in the day. Am i stopping driving in chicago? No, but i am adjusting my behavior to mitigate the risk. I moved my glock from a hip holster to a quick draw magnet on my chair and im leaving larger gaps between me and other cars, i dont stop at stop lights and im careful about parking and returning to the car. In fact, im behaving almost exactly as i did when living in the DF in the early 2000's and 5 years in central america.

    I choose to evaluate the statistical likelihood of having an incident and then mitigating risk where appropriate. But i refuse to give up things i enjoy because they are risky. I love risk!