We are hearing grumblings again from the motorcycle community. Lately, social media has been flooded with reactions of different rider clubs on a new directive released by the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG).
Released on January 10, 2020, Memorandum Circular No. 2020-004 states that motorcycles and tricycles, both considered as ‘slow-moving’ vehicles by the agency, shall be restricted to the outer lane of a road stretch for safety reasons. The order is in line with President Rodrigo Duterte’s instructions to local government units (LGUs) to rid major thoroughfares of tricycles and pedicabs to ensure the safety of all road users.
In turn, some LGUs apparently passed directives based on their own interpretation of the DILG ordinance, and included the banning of motorcycles from the fast lane. The LGUs, however, failed to specify if this applies only to motorbikes with small-displacement engines, or to big bikes as well.
This move did not sit well with motorcycle riders.
“Marami tayong nababalitaan na mga panukala sa iba’t ibang lugar sa ating bansa na kung saan pinagbabawal ang motor sa gitna ng kalsada at dapat daw ay manatili lamang sa kanang bahagi ng kalsada, at hinuhuli ang mga lumalabag dito. Ito daw ay ayon sa RA No. 4136 (Land Transportation and Traffic Code),” said Attorney Israel Calderon of Justitia Lex Machina (JLM), a motorcycle club composed of lawyers who are also motorbike enthusiasts.
“Para sa kaalaman ng lahat: Ang patakaran at panghuhuling ito ay hindi ayon sa batas kung kaya kapag nahuli ay i-contest niyo,” he emphasized.
While rider groups are still seeking clarification on the DILG’s controversial directive, some LGUs have announced the penalties they will impose on violators. The local government of Angeles City, for example, has set the following penalties for erring motorcycle riders and tricycle drivers: P300 for the first offense, P500 for the second, and P1,000 for the third.
Calderon claimed there is no provision in RA No. 4136 that says motorcycles must be confined to the slow lane of a road stretch: “Walang matibay na batayan kung paano masasabi na mabagal ang isang sasakyan, dahil kahit may mga speed limit na sinasaad ang batas, wala namang panukat ang manghuhuli ng bilis at walang nakalagay kung ano ang pamantayan ng mabagal.
“Pang-apat, may nakalagay sa RA No. 4136 patungkol sa speed limit, at ito ay para sa mga [sasakyan na may] apat na gulong pati na ang mga motor. Kung binigyan ng patakaran sa bilis ng sasakyan, makikita na walang nakalagay na dahil mabagal ay bawal at kung nasa gitna pero naayon sa speed limit ay bawal.”
Will someone from the government speak out to clarify this issue?