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wesman1 in peacecorpsfolks

Bikes and Motorcycles?

Does the PC provide PCV's with bicycles or motorcycles if you are in a rural area (or at all)? I have heard about both in the past, but stuff I have read about more recent volunteers has not mentioned either. My recruiter did not ask me if I have a motorcycle license (which I do) or about bicycles at all so maybe they don't offer them? Can you purchase/rent one when you are in your host country? Just curious...


I think non-motorized bikes are still used, especially in more rural areas, (with helmet, of course!), but motorbikes are out, and I'm pretty sure riding one while a volunteer (even outside your country of service) is grounds for a one-way ticket home.
It depends where you are. For us, we were NOT allowed to ride motorcycles. In fact, they treatened to send us home if we did. However, we were given money to buy bikes if we wanted to. I got on.
Why is this? Safety and/or theft? I would think that public transportation or riding a non-motorized bike on a road would be just as dangerous and any sort of electronics (ipod, laptop, camera) would be just as vulnerable to theft.
No PCV ANYWHERE can operate a motorcycle unless it is a life/limb/sight emergency. Some PCVs in certain places are allowed to ride motorcycles if no other transportation is readily available...some Cameroonian PCVs and a lot (maybe all) Beninois PCVs have that privilege. Peace Corps provides them with motorcycle helmets. For most PCVs world-wide, riding a motorcycle is grounds for immediate administrative separation due to the HUGE safety risk. I cannot tell you how many motorcycle accidents I witnessed as a PCV in Chad. Bad ones too. Some volunteers choose to risk being ad-sep'd and take motorcycles, but it really is a pretty big risk.

In a lot of PC countries, PCVs are either given bicycles or given an allowance to purchase a bicycle. It is a site by site kind of thing. Some sites are not conducive to riding a bike, some are. You must absolutely wear a helmet (which Peace Corps issued to you) when riding a bicycle. If you are caught not wearing one, you could be immediately ad-sep'd. They're serious about safety.

Riding horses, camels, donkeys and other animals is perfectly okay and doesn't require a helmet. Just in case you were wondering. In my PST, someone made sure to verify that those beasts of burden were not included under the "moving vehicle" rules.
I must say, I went horse back riding w/o a helmet and probably wont do that again. The horse bucked me off and I went flying to the ground. Scary situation indeed.

In Bulgaria we dont get money to buy a bike but helmets are available from the medical office free of cost if we choose to buy one on our own.
when we asked in training our PCV staff said that you could ride horses or donkeys but you had to wear a helmet.

bicycles are given out in Macedonia if you live far enough away from your primary work assignment. they only give out acertain amount though and not many people qualify because they do a good job of finding housing near your work.

we get sent home if we ride motorcycles or scooters.

during training in our village the tractor was the most common form of transportation when visiting other families but we were told we were NOT allowed to ride them even if we had a helmet on.
I know here in Romania they didn't give anybody a bike or money to buy a bike. If you do want to buy one with your own money, they will provide a helmet though.

In all honesty though, I wouldn't ride a bike here. Walking is scary enough.
Some countries get bikes in more rural areas, and I've heard of a (very) few volunteers getting motorbikes if they have to move between several towns to do their jobs, but it's a rare case. What's more amusing though, is that there's a guy in my local RPCV group that was issued a horse when he served!

The motorcycle thing is indeed a safety issue, and they have records from all the injuries/deaths that happened when they used to allow it more. If you are in a country that issues bikes, you have to wear a helmet all the time (as previously mentioned) and they give you a maintenance kit and take a day or so during training to teach maintenance and repairs.
Yup, yup, yup... traffic in developing countries is more frightening than I could have ever believed. Here in Kenya, a vol is issued with a bike if they want it, but you have to wear a helmet. Motorcycles are against the rules under any circumstances, and if you had seen some of the road accidents I've seen, you would not want to be as exposed as you would be on a bike.

Even not riding motorcycles, I have to honestly say that my number one fear is not disease, civil unrest or even robbery (which is a concern here), but traffic!

Oh, and for god's sake everyone, wear your helmet!!! A vol near me crashed his bike, broke his arm and collarbone, CRACKED HIS HELMET IN HALF, and still had to make the trip down to Nairobi to get patched up (Which from here is 4 hours over a crappy road). He's back at site now and in one piece, but definitely not a fun time!