Puerto Rico Passes The Strictest Motorcyclist Laws

From Rogue, our ‘Freedom Fighter’, this A.M.A. information regarding motorcycling in the US territory of Puerto Rico. “A measure recently signed into law by the governor of Puerto Rico will require riders to wear not only a helmet, but also gloves, boots, and long pants. After dark, riders must wear a reflective vest, and the law also tightens age restrictions on riders and imposes new testing requirements. In some ways, the law is even more restrictive than the requirements on many U.S. military bases. Legislative sponsors said the law was a response to increasing numbers of motorcycle fatalities on the Caribbean island. Between 2000 and 2005, the number of motorcycles and scooters registered in Puerto Rico more than doubled. Several factors encourage motorcycle use, including the year-round riding weather and the congestion of nearly 4 million residents on a 3,500-square-mile island. In general, gasoline is slightly more expensive than in the 50 states, while average household incomes are lower than in any of the states. In that environment, sales of inexpensive Chinese-built scooters have boomed in recent years as more residents in the crowded San Juan metropolitan area turned to them for affordable and fun transportation, in addition to steady sales of full-size motorcycles. "This considerable increase in the purchase and use of motorcycles as an alternative means of transportation has brought with it an unprecedented increase in motorcycle accidents, and, at the same time, a dramatic increase in deaths from those accidents," the legislation states. The law takes effect in October. It calls for the creation of eight training centers around the island to license new riders and budgets $250,000 to start the program. But it’s not likely the centers will be running by the time the law takes effect. Owners of currently registered motorcycles are allowed to continue riding, but will have to comply with the new licensing requirements when they renew their driver’s licenses" The law essentially moves Puerto Rico from having less stringent regulations than most states to having more restrictive requirements than any of the 50 states. Previously, motorcyclists in Puerto Rico were not required to pass a riding test and get a motorcycle endorsement unless they wanted to use the island’s toll highways. UPDATE: Shortly after Puerto Rico’s tough new restrictions on motorcyclists were due to take effect, the Legislature voted to postpone implementation of the new law until February 2008. Translation: they are ready to hear our complaints.

14 Responses to “Puerto Rico Passes The Strictest Motorcyclist Laws”

  1. 1 goldiron Oct 13th, 2007 at 8:51 am

    As an additional note, included with the clothing requirements is an alcohol impairment provision that reduces the impaired limit from .08 to .02. Effectively, this provision eliminates all alcohol consumption by riders before or during their rides.

    Many groups that ride stateside should scrutinize this provision.

  2. 2 Rogue Oct 14th, 2007 at 3:12 pm

    The fact that this happened in Puerto Rico should be a wakeup call to those in the US
    Those that ride should stick together against motorcycle laws that affect any of this and us.
    I will ride without a helmet sometimes but I wear long pants, Hey if you ever saw my legs you would understand why haha What I am trying to say here is everyone one of us is different and have different opinions on what we should wear and do to protect ourselves.
    Do not let others divide us on issues and conquer us by pitting one group of riders against other. Just look around you and you can see it happening everyday.
    Okay I confess I like looking at women especially those in chaps and little less Haha Hey my Name is Rogue what do you expect.
    So women do you want to be covered head to toe in funky looking clothing.
    If not speak up!
    Men do you like looking at women? well you know what you have to do.
    I am having a little fun here hoping I get your attention. Pay attention to all the laws that are trying to be passed that affect our lifstyles and just tell the Goverment NO MORE! I can make my own decisions!!!!

  3. 3 rodent Oct 14th, 2007 at 7:13 pm

    Screw Puerto Rico…All the inportant PR’s are in New York anyway….Don’t spend your money there…There are other Islands

  4. 4 GARAGE GOON Oct 15th, 2007 at 3:29 pm

    I’m with Rogue on this one. I won’t be riding PR anytime soon.

  5. 5 Aceman Oct 16th, 2007 at 10:24 am

    Hey Rodent:

    First of all, the correct way to write IMPORTANT is with “M”. Second, I don’t think you should be disrespecting us puertoricans by saying screw Puerto Rico. I believe we are all important no matter where we are or where we live, or where we come from. Your statement only reflects upon your poor character and the lack of intelligence.

    It is a fact, there are lots of things that need to be reconsider by the Puerto Rican legislature with regards to the new law. Our fellow motorcycle riders are not arguing the fact that better safety measures should take place in order to make Puerto Rico a safer ridding environment. While I agree with wearing long pants, gloves, eye wear, helmets, ridding boots and even a protective jacket, I also believe those (except the helmet) should not be imposed. Then again, when you have a government that pays for all your medical expenses whenever you have a traffic accident here in the Island, you also have to consider their position and the huge responsibility they have with safeguarding th live and wellbeing of all Puertoricans and visitors of this Island. Were else in the world can you go for a riding adventure and be completely cover in case of an accident for just 35 dollars. Tell me where?

  6. 6 CJ "Warden" Hanlon Oct 17th, 2007 at 10:37 am

    Maybe they should also try and tighten up their car driving skills too while they are at it? Having driven in PR (my wife is PR’n and agrees they are the worst drivers) i’m amazed at how PR drivers even survive since they seem to disregard simple driving rules/etiquette (stopping at stop lights/signs seem to be “optional”) as well as common sense decisions while driving (right lane U turns into other direction lane) or flapping their pie hole while driving and not taking anyone else into consideration while behind the wheel….but hey, that’s just my experience. I’m sure we’ll get some feedback on this post:)

  7. 7 Aceman Oct 18th, 2007 at 11:34 am

    Sure, It is pretty tough to drive down here in the island, But don’t think for a second that everybody behaves as CJ Hanlon describes on his post. Go to New York, Jersey, California, Chicago and any other major city and see how tough and unpleasant it is as well.

    There is a big difference between a bad driver and some who chooses to be and a**hole on the road. Those you have them every where, even where you live…

  8. 8 GARAGE GOON Oct 19th, 2007 at 7:26 pm

    Bad drivers are everywhere. I love PR but I hate helmets etc… Still PR is a beautiful place with allot of kool people.

  9. 9 SCOOTER SURFER Oct 21st, 2007 at 9:43 am

    I drive about 1/2 mile down through a residential area no faster than 25 m.p.h. with my surfboard on a rack on my scooter . Now they tell me I have to comply with this stupid law . I’ve seen motorcyle cops here that don’t even buckle their straps on their helmets driving one-handed talking on their cell phone to their ” chica ” . Get a grip . My friends come down here and they think it’s a ” lawless ” island . I tell them that they have even more laws down here than stateside , they just don’t enforce any of them . Puerto Rico has the 3rd highest number of police oficers per capita in the world right behind Russia and Venezuela . Why is it then that we suffer one of the highest crime rates in the whole U.S. ?

  10. 10 SCOOTER SURFER Oct 22nd, 2007 at 1:45 pm

    That 35 $ that Aceman is talking about is for a government ran health insurance that you buy every year when you pay your registration . You have to buy it even if you have your own insurance , and you have to buy it for any boat or motorcycle trailer you own also . That seems particularly strange since the insurance covers ” occupants ” of a vehicle . Who rides on their bike trailer ? By the way , it’s only $10,000 per person per accident . What’s that cover these days ? A broken toe ?
    I’ve relaxed quite a bit since I read the bicycle law that they passed in 2000 ( also the strictest in the nation ) that they also don’t enforce at all . I’ll just park my scooter for a few months and let the whole thing blow over .

  11. 11 CJ "Warden" Hanlon Oct 24th, 2007 at 1:16 pm

    Nah, Aceman we can’t let New York, Jersey, California, Chicago and any other major city beat us out for having the worst drivers! We’ve worked hard to gain that distinction by allowing under-skilled drivers get licenses….as well as backed that up with lackluster penalties on red light runners, aggressive and uninsured drivers. We’ll proudly hold up that broken headlight or smashed helmet to those that say “move to florida, it’s a safe place to drive!” http://www.guiltycustoms.com

  12. 12 AQUILINO Apr 9th, 2008 at 3:25 pm

    US DIVER LIC . I’m from S.C and I have a motorcycle endorment on my lic. can I drive in Puerto rico . or do I need a spec permet.
    thank you

  13. 13 Mikhail Rabinski Oct 29th, 2010 at 4:17 pm

    Wow. It is now 2010 and the stupid law passed and is being enforced. The result of which has been a dramatic reduction in the number of motorcycles seen circulating around. Puerto Rico is the example of what not to do, especially when it comes to politics. This law is the brainchild of some senator that fell of his motorcycle and had nothing better to do while recovering in the hospital. All I see is a transparent attempt at self-publicity and a short sighted ill placed effort that completely avoids the real problem: educating drivers properly and stressing care with motorcyclists. Puerto Rico has no real working public transport system, the densest population of the world and therefor has to practically give driver’s licenses away. The test is a joke. Adults here now nothing about right of way.. a yield sign is a mystery to most.. the shoulder is just a lane all the stupid people haven’t discovered.. signaling lane changes means you’re a newb..etc.. etc… Nowhere during drivers ed. is there ever mentioned that care must be taken to avoid KILLING motorcycles or how fragile a motorcyclist is. Four wheeled vehicles WILL drive you off the road; they somehow feel that smaller sized motorcyclist don’t have a right to be on the road. Politically speaking the bill has been a success, a clear reduction in the number of motorcycle accident related deaths; just not by educating drivers, only by keeping motorcyclists off the road.

  14. 14 Ombre libre Dec 26th, 2010 at 11:37 am

    I believe that being a PR’n is a great privilage, since you have the rights to run out of the island when you feel that something has gone wrong againt the people or the way the regime work does not allow you to do what you want to. but remember those whe left left behind the rest of your family and your friends and love ones. Yet they have to put up with the goven=rnment stupedities and irrational behavir that we ran away from. SO why since we are out of there and possible at no risk to be processed by the island laws which is ovbious that most every one can’t stand or put up with , dont we try helping the issues by talking to some of the representatives of the island that are here in the states to see what can be done to try correcting some of theissues we so much dislike.

    Ombre libre

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Cyril Huze