Checking for Motorcycle Helmets and Vests

Here’s your Guatemalan Spanish word of the day: Retén or check point.

We are a bit slow to implement stuff in Antigua Guatemala. The law requiring motorcycle riders to wear helmets and vest with the license plate numbers on them was past last year, but in Antigua Guatemala they are just getting around to enforce this national law. Perhaps, the municipal coffers are a bit empty or there was political pressure or who knows why, but now the municipal police is stoping motorcycle riders at the retén check points to make sure riders have their helmets and vests with them. Maybe, next year they will have check points to enforce the riders are actually wearing the helmets and vests while riding the motorcycles.

Of course, many Guatemalans believe this law was passed to punish the poor for not owning a car, although the law makes no distinction, many wealthy high profile politicians have been caught without wearing the vest and helmet. Others believe this measure will reduce crime and violence. I believe it is a good measure to force motorcycle riders to wear helmets for safety reasons, but to wear a vest and helmet with big license plate numbers on them, seems punitive for the majority of the population of motorcycle riders just to catch a few criminals, whom are likely to use fake numbers or not wear them anyhow. What are your thoughts regarding this law?

Rudy Giron: Antigua Guatemala &emdash; Police Check Points for Motorcycles

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