4 August, 2020

Today’s topic: ‘Safety in Mazatlán’. In my experience, this could also be titled, ‘Safety in México’. This seems to be the number one question of people thinking of visiting or moving here. I avoid it because there is NO place that’s totally safe. The city you currently live in isn’t totally safe – you just know what areas to avoid to minimize your risk. That should be the question people ask, but never is. So, here are some of the safety issues in Mazatlán that you should be aware of and be on the watch for when you visit. I’m assuming you aren’t in the drug trade, so we can skip the whole cartel thing and just cover things that will affect you!

The first pervasive safety issue doesn’t usually affect me at all. I’m 5′ 4″ tall – a typical height around here. Taller people would be well warned to always be on the lookout for low hanging air conditioner cages! Hard to see from a distance, and cause nasty head injuries! These mainly affect those who like to walk while using their phone. Owch! Shorter people should still be on the lookout for them though – there’s a rare low-straggler!

Air Conditioner Cage
Air conditioner cage – Head injury waiting to happen to tall people!

Not the best example, but this shows the lack of sidewalk height regulations! Little Step, Big Step, Slanted Driveway, Another Step! Thought step aerobics was a thing of the past? Not in México! Sometimes the differences are very small, and those that don’t pay very close attention quickly find themselves with a fairly expensive ride to the hospital to set a broken bone. Please believe me when I say this is a TOP FIVE cause of injury to tourists here.

Sidewalk Height
Sidewalk Height

People seem to think that the sidewalks are theirs to ‘improve’ as they see fit – even if the improvements prevent people from using the sidewalk! Sometimes it’s the CITY doing the improvements!

Utility access covers are rarely flush with the sidewalk, and are typically made from 1/4″ thick (or less) cement. Many have foot shaped holes in them, so in addition to tripping on them, you have to be careful not to fall through one! I just avoid stepping on them at all.

Utility Access
Utility Access

Then there are the cracks, wet sidewalks, and utility pole support wires – which, like air conditioner cages, are very difficult to see … but these will bite you someplace a tad lower than your head! Especially debilitating for guys – and embarrassing for either sex when walked into in public! And water on the sidewalk – each homeowner pretty much decides what materials are going to be used for the sidewalk in front of their home. Some have pretty, shiny, tiles – that are slippery as crap when wet. And wet means water was on it sometime in the last week!

And last, because we were just speaking of crap …. there’s the animal waste! While this will only ruin a pair of shoes and probably not cause you injury, it is a sidewalk hazard one has to look out for!

Animal Waste
Animal Waste

That wraps up the episode on Safety in Mazatlán! Please, be aware when you’re walking! Don’t scan ahead more than 1/4 block. Those pole support wires are REALLY hard to see in the sun, and tiny differences in sidewalk height will give you unwanted memories of your time here! When you see water on the sidewalk tell yourself it’s going to be slippery! And now nod your head because you know why so many people walk in the streets!

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