RIDERS and drivers in the Philippines are seeking equal treatment and want the habal-habal (motorcycle taxi) to be an alternative mode of transportation. A group is pushing a bill that will legalize the operations of motorcycle taxis. In an apparent desperate move to solve the traffic problem, our legislators are contemplating on using motorcycles to transport our commuters.
The people behind the Angkas mobile app, on the other hand, likewise calls for the approval of the legislative measure. In justification for the measure, the group claims it can properly monitor and discipline its members. Based on sales reports from vehicle dealers, there are around 14 to 15 million riders on the street and only a few are registered with the Land Transportation Office (LTO).
There is an existing law prohibiting two-wheeled vehicles to be used as public transportation. The law has to be amended and provisions must be put in place to make the drive more safe for motorists and passengers.
First of all, reform the mindset of motorcycle drivers who think that they can do away with traffic rules and regulations. I almost hit a motorcycle rider when he insisted on overtaking on the right lane, in wanton disregard of my right turn signal.
Safety seminars should be conducted before drivers’ licenses could even be issued. Second, there are suggestions to modify our motorcycles that are considered for public transport. Statistics from the LTO and Metropolitan Manila Development Authority show that a considerable number of vehicular accidents and fatal road mishaps involve motorcycles.
Third, considering the risk, these motorcycle taxis should not be allowed on major thoroughfares or national highways.
Will those responsible be able to properly monitor this envisioned motorcycle taxis that are now in the millions? A color code on the license plate would be a good identification, so that enforcers and commuters could readily identify a family-owned bike for private use from those utilized for public transport.
According to a Social Weather Station survey, 32 percent of Filipino households own motorcycles and eight percent own three-wheeled vehicles. Transport Watch reported that one out of three Filipinos own motorcycles and half of them use these vehicles for livelihood.
There will lobbyists who will push for the approval of the bill. Motorcycle dealers, insurance companies and motor parts stores will join the lobbying. However, this legislative agenda must be studied thoroughly.