Safety vest for riders pressed

Reflectorized vest (File photo / SunStar Cebu)

MANDATORY wearing of reflectorized vest is being pushed in Baguio City in a bid to curb road crashes.

The City Council has introduced an ordinance that requires all motorcycle, e-bike, scooters and bicycle riders to wear high visibility reflectorized vests or jackets when traveling within the roads and streets of Baguio City from 6 p.m. to 6 a.m. Violators will be penalized.

The measure, authored by Councilor Elaine Sembrano and which is eyed to be passed before the year ends, seeks to prevent vehicular road crash caused by human error.

Sembrano said there is a need to enact the ordinance to protect motorists, passengers and pedestrians.

The measure also mandates all riders or passengers who carry with them backpack that have a reflector or a visible material big enough for easy visibility.

High visibility reflectorized vest is a personal protective equipment designed to have high visibility and reflectivity. It is worn by a rider and a passenger to make them more noticeable while traveling on the road.

Patricio Evangelista of United Metro Baguio Benguet Transport Operators and Drivers Federation raised the idea during a public consultation in October, saying high visibility vests should be also worn during inclement weather when traversing city roads.

Roberto Aquino Macagba, founder of Brotherhood of Riders Advocating Discipline Equity Respect and Safety (Braders) and governor of Cordillera Motorcycle Riders Federation Incorporated, said that even before the crafting of the ordinance, members of the group have been using vests anytime when traversing inside and outside the summer capital.

"It started as a part of our uniform, like a banner for the group. At that time, issues for safety and visibility was not yet a concern. After a while, when the growing concerns for visibility of the rider and safety arises, I together with my group were fortunate that we already have it and have been wearing it. From different safety riding seminars, we learned the true essence of wearing the vest and its importance which is, it adds visibility of the rider especially at night or even at a foggy place. This is also one deterrent to the gasgas ng palusot ng ibang driver na hindi kami nakita," he added.

At present, the group has 1,200 members.

Asked for comment, Baguio City Police Office (BCPO) traffic management head Police Major Oliver Panabang said the measure would be a great help considering the situation in the city, which is experiencing fog.

He said high visibility vests allow drivers to notice motorcyclists traversing during zero visibility.

"We will also follow the existing ordinance of San Fernando, La Union that all motorcycle riders should wear a reflectorized vest while traveling and on board of the motorcycle. As long as it is reflectorize that can be easily be seen and spotted by other motorists," he added.

Meanwhile, Benguet province passed this year a law on the mandatory use of reflectorized vest to decrease cases of road crashes involving riders and motorists.

Provincial Board Member Fernando Balaodan said all motorists must wear the reflective vest when traveling in the province especially when the visibility of the road is poor.

"Road transport injuries continue to be the leading cause of death among young and old people. The province of Benguet recognizes the need for policy action to reduce motorcycle, tricycle, bicycle accidents that resulted to physical injuries and even death," Balaodan said.

Data from the World Health Organization in 2018 showed that motorcyclists are among the most vulnerable road users along pedestrians, and they contribute more than half of all road traffic deaths.

Francis Almora, Land Transportation Office-Cordillera director, said the agency will support anything that would help secure the motorists.

Almora said that even before the creation of the proposed measure, riders would wear high visibility vest with the logo of the motorcycle club.

"It would enhance visibility of the rider. This will give ample warning time for other motorists to react in case the rider would slip, when the road is slippery and that would give ample time for other motorists to react safely, it is really useful," Almora said.


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