All over Southeast Asia, the number of motorbikes far surpasses the number of cars and trucks. Motorbikes are cheaper and get better gas mileage. They are also much smaller, which is a blessing when navigating one’s way through traffic, and it certainly makes parking easier.
But, having such small vehicles comes with its own burdens. Namely, how do you transport extra people or stuff? As we have seen, you apparently just figure it out.
You have a six-foot bookcase, a wheelbarrow full of dirt, some fifteen-foot piping, two bicycles, or a broken motorbike? Figure it out. And, yes, we have seen all of those items being carried by people while driving motorbikes.
And when it comes to people, luckily the Thais are smaller than Westerners. We have managed to transport three Americans at a time on one motorbike, but that was max capacity. Thais ride around in trios constantly, with the driver in the middle.
They do any number of things that in America would probably get you arrested for reckless endangerment, and land your kids in the care of Child Services. Toddlers ride around in one of several ways: crouched in front of the driver, standing in front of the seat, standing between two adults, or propped up on the back (possibly asleep).
In fact, not only have I gotten comfortable riding sidesaddle like the local women (because it's rude not to), I kind of prefer it. But I think even that would get us pulled over in America.