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The Globe and Mail

Sao Paulo's 'mad dog' couriers own the streets

The term 'motoboy' in Sao Paulo is synonymous with an angry rebel, one of thousands of motorcycle couriers also known as 'cachorros loucos,' or 'mad dogs.' Most are totally reckless; drivers who don't give them the right of way will be cursed, kicked and likely lose their rear-view mirror to a motorcycle handlebar or gloved fist. At least three motoboys die each day in accidents, according to Brazilian authorities.

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Motorcycle couriers ride in a makeshift lane between cars in Sao Paulo Nov. 14, 2012. Dying at the rate of three per day, according to official statistics, Sao Paulo’s approximately 200,000 registered motorcycle couriers, nicknamed either ‘motoboys’ or ‘mad dogs,’ are the terror of drivers.

Paulo Whitaker/Reuters

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A heavily loaded motorcycle courier cruises between lanes in Sao Paulo. Motoboys in the city bully drivers into giving them the right of way as they race along the corridors formed between the rows of vehicles stuck in heavy traffic.

Paulo Whitaker/Reuters

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Police search motorcyclists, most of them couriers, for weapons as they try to crack down on a wave of violence in Sao Paulo, Oct. 8, 2012. Thieves take advantage of the large number of couriers to hide among them and rob the occupants of vehicles as they drive alongside.

Paulo Whitaker/Reuters

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A view of the parking lot of Sao Paulo’s transit authority where motorcycles, most of them belonging to couriers, are parked after being impounded for not having their registration in order or having been involved in crimes.

Paulo Whitaker/Reuters

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Emergency medics attend a motorcycle courier after he had an accident in Sao Paulo, Nov. 9, 2012. The city of 20 million has about 950,250 licensed motorcycles, of which about 200,000 are registered to couriers.

Paulo Whitaker/Reuters

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Motorcyclists move to the front of traffic waiting for a green light at an intersection in Sao Paulo, Nov. 22, 2012.

Paulo Whitaker/Reuters

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A man talks on the phone while standing in the parking lot of the city’s transit authority among impounded motorcycles, most of them belonging to couriers.

Paulo Whitaker/Reuters

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Motorcycle couriers lane-split between cars in Sao Paulo Sept. 6, 2012. Motoboys make the space between the rows of vehicles their exclusive high speed corridors.

Paulo Whitaker/Reuters

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A twisted motorcycle belonging to a courier lies next to the taxi it crashed into as the vehicles owners await the police to sort out the situation in Sao Paulo, Nov. 16, 2012.

Paulo Whitaker/Reuters

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