Rico’s TICO BULL – It is midnight, one, sometimes even two in the morning, in front of my computer in Piedades de Santa Ana, I can hear the roar of engines and screeching times not from too far away. This occurs a couple of times a week. Every week.
On a number of occasions, the noise from the vehicles is silenced by the sound of the sirens, fire trucks and ambulances. They have a distinct sound that I have learned to distinguish in the dead of night.
On one occasion, not too long ago, the silence came after a deadening impact of metal, plastic and glass crashing hard into a concrete. Then the sirens.
I have never seen a street race on the Ruta 27, a few hundred meters from my house. But I have seen the remnants of what occurred hours before, referring to the broken concrete pillar of the pedestrian overpass when I walked the area in the morning following the crash.
It’s not only cars that are involved in street racing, but motorcycles as well.
The other night, coming home late from an airport run, in Lindora, by the Momentum Plaza, there was a large gathering of people and their motorcycles. A stop at the Masxmenos in Santa Ana, two guys are buying several liter bottles of Imperial beer. As I go to my car, the men are getting on a motorcycle, probably to join the others a kilometer away.
Later, less than an hour, I can hear the roar of engines and screeching tires. I am sure the two men in the supermarket buying beer was not an isolated case.
Thanks to a post by Accidentes de Costa Rica on Facebook, we can get a front row seat what happens in these street races. Watch the video, you can clearly see the mentaliy of this group of people, then read the comments on the Facebook page, a bright bunch they are not.
My question is, where are the traffic cops, the Transitos? If I can hear the street racing a couple of times a week, why haven’t the transitos picked up on it? I mean it doesn’t take a rocket scientist (no disrespec to Franklin Chang), to figure out where the races are occurring: point one, in front of the Forum and point two, from the toll booths to the Hacienda del Sol bridge (now Pricesmart).
These two points are ideal because, one, they offer a straightaway with the legal speed limit of 90 km/h, which means vehicles can hit 110 km/h and still be within the speed limit; and two, they offer a return, the racers can quickly get back to the action by way of the Santa Ana bridge, the Hacienda del Sol bridge and the toll booths.
Speaking to an acquaintance at the Policia de Transito, he tells me that given the lack of adequate officials, at night there is only a skeleton staff to attend to emergencies (crashes). Not only in Santa Ana, but in throughout most of the country.
In addition, they know about the “piques“, the Spanish word for street racing, but have not have been able to make progress in curbing the situation.
To me it seems the Policia de Transito have their priorities all screwed up. There are enough officials to target Uber drivers, but not enough to put a stop street racing? Or at least to make a dent in curbing it?
I have been witness, the morning after, to the results of street racing on two separate occasions.
It was almost a year ago, in December 2016, the broken concrete pillar and tracks of the vehicle that lost control (after hitting the concrete), ending up across the street.
Before that, a couple of years ago, seeing debris on both sides of the Ruta 27 – a divided highway. Strange I thought, there is oil here and over there, and pieces of plastic and glass. I later learned that the vehicle was going at such a high speed, hitting another vehicle, presumably parked on the Hacienda del Sol bridge, it split in two, scattering debris on the east and west lanes of the highway.
In both cases, authorities could not confirm if street racing was involved.
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