As Mexican drug cartels encroach and homicide rates climb, lawmakers in Honduras approved an unusual plan to curb violent crime: banning motorcyclists from riding with passengers. The law, passed on Dec. 7, temporarily bans pillion passengers for the next six months following two high-profile drive-by murders involving gunmen on motorbikes. On Dec. 6, radio show host Luz Marina Paz Villalobos and her driver were shot dead outside her home in the capital city of Tegucigalpa. The next day, former government security adviser Alfredo Landaverde met the same fate while driving with his wife. According to the United Nations, Honduras has the world’s highest homicide rate at 82 murders per 100,000 people a year—the by-product of drug-related slayings as cartels use the country as a trafficking hub for transporting cocaine from South America to the U.S.
Despite protests that the law punishes low-income citizens who rely on the popular motorbikes for transportation, Tegucigalpa Mayor Ricardo Álvarez told La Tribuna newspaper that in addition to the existing military presence on the streets, the city may need international support to fight violent crime, and that the ban on motorcycle passengers could still be “part of the solution to Honduras’s plight.”