Sometimes we are inclined to believe that some groups are behind a wicked attrition scheme to avert the overcrowding of Metro Manila. Defective traffic lights, open manholes, abandoned road diggings, and dangling electric post wires could be examples. The callousness among government agencies and some road contractors gives us an impression that all these exist in a desperate bid to lessen the number of people in the metropolis. No one seems to be lifting a finger to avert accidents resulting from these.
Another classic example of indifference is the long patches of ‘asphalt mounds’ along C5 Road. Caused by overloaded trucks, these asphalt mounds are sprouting like mushrooms in many areas of this 32.5km beltway, officially known as ‘Carlos P. Garcia Avenue'—or should we rename it ‘Chaotic Road 5’?
Accidents involving cars and motorcycles that were triggered by these mounds (some reaching heights of 3 to 4in) continue to increase. For riders who are new to this kind of road obstacle, you might find yourself being thrown off the bike if you do not react swiftly and accordingly. Worse, you might end up being hit by a speeding car from behind or alongside your motorbike.
However, you need not to be a motocross champ to survive this kind of road hazard. Just be guided by safe riding tips, do not panic and you’ll be fine.
Here are some pointers to allow you to maneuver safely from the so-called 'killer mounds:'
1) Widen your field of vision.
Considering there are a lot of obstacles that surprise us along the road, it’s best to sharpen your peripheral vision against anything that you might hit while riding. Riders must be aware of this despite the limited vision while wearing a helmet.
This is one riding skill that a Pinoy rider cannot do without. You do this by focusing your eyesight on the road up ahead, but with your peripheral vision is also giving you inputs on what’s happening on the left and right side.
2) Stay in control.
They say that it’s proper for a rider to stay relaxed to avoid stress. However, when you sense a dangerous situation up ahead, you must tighten your grip on the handlebars to prepare for a quick maneuver. A tight grip on the handlebar makes you in full control of the bike even after you hit big bumps like those mounds on C5.
It also helps to keep your elbow at a comfortable angle to allow you to shift directions in a quick yet stable manner. The swift side-to-side movement of the hips may also help quick steer the bike.
3)Panic braking is a no-no.
You encounter these mounds on the fast stretches of C5, while some of them are on sweeping turns where riders are often at a cruising speed of 40-60kph.
As darkness sets in or when there's a heavy downpour, it becomes difficult to see these mounds. So when your bike is jolted after hitting these tall obstacles, you'll end up struggling to regain control. The motorbikes' tires have tendency to slide from these mounds when it's raining.
When this happens, avoid abrupt braking because these can make your bike go airborne. Panic braking will only make you lose control of the bike and you'll probably find yourself lying on the asphalt. ABS (anti-lock braking system) may help, but remember: You are in the middle lane where vehicles are usually driving fast, especially when the traffic is clear and truck ban is in effect. It is best to steer your bike to the safe part of the roadside before coming to a complete stop.
4) Be aware of what’s behind.
By steering and braking properly after hitting a big mound, your next move is to move the bike to the roadside. You do this to check if there is damage to your wheels, front fork, or tires.
Do not wait for your tires to wobble or the steering to pull in the left or right direction before you decide to stop. Proceeding with your ride with defective tires, wheels or fork might only endanger your life.
5)Proper bike maintenance is a plus.
Again, let us emphasize proper bike maintenance on your tires, brakes and wheels. Make sure that the spokes are always complete. Check the wheels for possible dents.
Also, always maintain proper tire pressure to ensure optimum road grip. Have your brake pads or brake linings checked. Worn-out pads and linings affect the stopping power of the bike.
Remember that you’re riding here in the Philippines. So always stay alert but don't miss the fun when riding.