Cabaero: Opposing views to bonnet ban

THE favorite target of local government activities these days is on how to improve life on the road.

The Cebu City Government started it when Mayor Tomas Osmeña decided to go after counter-flowing vehicles. The result was immediate. Drivers of motorcycles and cars learned not to go on the opposite lane but to stick to their side of the road. Other local government units followed and started to have their own anti-counterflow measures.

Then came several other proposals on how to keep order on the streets and the people safe. There was talk of emergency measures, car-pooling, expanding Cebu City rules to the province, and a ban on using bonnets or face covers for motorcycle users.

The bonnet ban takes effect tomorrow, Monday, in Mandaue City. Those passing by Mandaue City by motorcycle or tricycle would have to comply with the ban on bonnets, full-faced helmets, and masks. The measure was a response to rising crime incidents involving persons on motorcycle who escaped identification because of a face cover. Mandaue City Mayor Gabriel Luis Quisumbing said law enforcers would now be able to identify criminals based on video of them taken by security cameras.

Implementation of this local law is expected to have an impact starting on its first day, Monday, like in the implementation of the Cebu City anti-counterflow measure that was welcomed by the public. Local government units can appreciate the positive comments from people tired of road congestion and disorder but they must continue to listen.

In the no-bonnet rule, the Mandaue City Government started last week its information drive so the public could not complain they were not informed. Public announcements were made the past days. But an informal survey by the SunStar website (www.sunstar.com.ph) on its webcast last week showed there were still people who didn’t know of it. Some of them were grateful to be informed, others gave their opinion on this new ban. (Access the SunStar-on-the-street survey on the webcast at http://www.sunstar.com.ph/video/sunstar-street-balaod-batok-bonnet-592057)

There were those who said they wear face covers to protect them from dust and pollution. It is not easy to breathe when you are following a smoke belcher. The cover allows them to focus on the road and not get distracted by dust or pebbles hitting the face.

Others suggested that the ban cover only the motorcycle rider because it is the driver who needs face protection. A valid suggestion if you consider how, in past crimes, it is the rider who commits the act while the driver waits for the criminal. Exposing the rider’s face addresses the need of law enforcers to identify criminals. In ordinary situations, it is the back rider who gets protected from the dust by the driver who sits in front.

In the many measures cropping up to regulate road use, the public’s reactions and suggestions are valuable for the wisdom they might have and because these rules are for them.
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