31 October 2011

Finally, a motorcycle lane!

Last year, the Metro Manila Development Authority noted 16, 208 road accidents and 177 fatalities in the region.

It had just been 13,561 road accidents and 105 fatalities in 2009—an increase from the recorded 12,656 accidents and 104 fatalities in 2008.

So MMDA Chair Francis Tolentino came up with a measure ‘aimed at instilling discipline among motorists.’ The policy would be on a trial period that would last for one to two months that he himself would oversee.

The motorcycle lane would not be exclusive to motorcycles. Other vehicles may use it if the other lanes are full but motorcycles are not allowed to leave their designated area.

The Commonwealth Avenue was dubbed the ‘killer highway’ for the lethal accidents that happened on the 12.4-kilometer stretch. It is likewise ‘murderously fearsome’ to motorcycle riders, if you ask Rogelio Singson, Public Works Secretary. Concrete barriers along thoroughfares had made it 90% unsafe for motorcycle riders—20% riskier for motorists in cars and other four-wheeled vehicles.

But the Motorcycle Rights Association (headed by Jobert Christian Bolanos) thinks the traffic scheme would endanger them even more. It is also “unconstitutional” because a city council could have no jurisdiction over a national road. So it filed a temporary restraining order and a writ of preliminary injunction against Quezon City Mayor Herbert Bautista, QC Department of Public Order and Safety, QC Police District, Land Transportation Office and MMDA.

“Petitioner submits that no matter how compelling the reason is and acute the traffic problem might be [on] Commonwealth Avenue as to reach a strangulation point, the solution does not lie in limiting and restricting the access of motorcycle riders to the fourth lane of Commonwealth Avenue which only creates and brings undue and greater risk,” the MRA was reported saying.

Plipina Ako has never driven a motorcycle and couldn’t see how the special lane could be “unreasonable, arbitrary and discriminatory.” But it has been a week after the dry run and there had been no reported mishaps. Can’t the MRA finally appreciate that?

“Like other vehicles, they are not exempted from the 60-kilometer per hour speed limit. The motorcycle lane is created for them not to stray on other lanes used by public utility and private vehicles.” ~ MMDA Chair Francis Tolentino


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