SENATE Bill No. 1822 – a proposal for the establishment of mandatory motorcycle safety training program and the provision of related penalties – is one fine example of responsive legislation. The proposal is authored by Senator Joseph Victor G. Ejercito.
The increase in the number of motorcycles through the country is evident. As cited in Senator Ejercito’s explanatory note on his bill, more than 50% of the 8.7 million vehicles registered in the Land Transportation Office in 2015 are motorcycles. In a few years, the Philippines will be very much like Vietnam where motorcycles are the main road users.
What makes Senate Bill No. 1822 responsive is the current state of safety in our roads not only in Metro Manila but all throughout the country. Senator Ejercito also cited data from the Philippine Statistics Authority to emphasize the need to address road safety particularly in relation to the increased number of motorcycles using our roads. Motorcycle-related injuries account for 69% of the total identified transport incidents in the whole country. In the case of Metro Manila, information from the Metro Manila Development Authority (MMDA) shows that motorcycle accidents have the highest rank in all cases of fatal road accidents.
In making our roads safe, the government has to put in place measures that are specifically tailored to how motorcycles are driven.
The proposal of Senator Ejercito implicitly point to motorcycle driver education as an area of concern as the lack of such education is obviously the main cause for motorcycle accidents on our roads.
It is not an exaggeration to say that many Filipinos think that if they are able to ride bicycles, they are already capable of riding motorcycles.
The non-recognition of the value of motorcycle driver education is obviously reinforced by the driver licensing system that the Land Transportation Office (LTO) currently has, which, at best, can be described as weak.
The number of road accidents involving motorcycles, the causes of such accidents, and the way motorcycles are driven on our roads are clear manifestations of the weak licensing system that the LTO has.
The proposal of Senator Ejercito is an essential first step in making motorcycle driving on our roads safe as it would institutionalize a mechanism that will educate motorcycle drivers. In the bill, Senator Ejercito identified the essential areas of education – driving rules and regulations, driving courtesy, driving safety, road hazards, and vehicle safety features.
If motorcycle drivers are equipped with such education, we can look forward to safer roads in our country.
However, the extent and quality of safety in our roads will principally depend on how well the LTO will implement Senator Ejercito’s proposal when the same becomes a law.
(To be continued)