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Always heaglights On for 2010



January 1, 2010, 4:09pm

Still apparently unmindful of the risk involved despite the helmets they are all wearing, a man and four members of his family squeezed themselves in the seat of a motorcycle as they travel along Roxas Blvd. in Luneta. (AP)

Still apparently unmindful of the risk involved despite the helmets they are all wearing, a man and four members of his family squeezed themselves in the seat of a motorcycle as they travel along Roxas Blvd. in Luneta. (AP)

All motorcycles will have to turn their headlights on even during daytime in 2010 or face stiff penalties if a plan of the Land Transportation Office (LTO) pushes through.

LTO Traffic Safety Division chief Daisy Jacobo, who is drafting the guidelines of the new policy, said the agency would soon penalize riders who refuse to turn on the headlights of their motorcycle units.

Last year, the LTO came up with an order encouraging motorcycle riders to turn their headlights even during daytime to increase their visibility on the road but had no penal clause on it.

“I’m thinking of imposing a penalty of as high as P1,500 to a low of P500 per violation,” Jacobo told the Manila Bulletin in an interview.

The stiff penalty is meant to encourage riders to obey the new policy which was formulated to give motorcycles higher visibility while on the road. The LTO also considered a plan requiring motorcycle manufacturers to create units that will automatically turn the headlights on when the engine is started.

“Motorcycles are prone to accidents because they are like virtual broomstick from a distance to other road users. So to increase their visibility, their headlights should be turned on any time of the day,” Jacobo said.

According to records from the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA), in 2008 there were 11,869 accidents involving motorcycles, with a total of 113 fatalities.

There were significantly more car accidents (61,448) but fewer resulting fatalities (91).

Motorcycle sales have been growing at an unprecedented rate for the past years driven by high fuel costs and easy-on-the-pocket installment plans.

There are 2.6 million registered motorcycles in the Philippines as of 2008 with 671,588 of them newly bought.

In perspective, there were only 821,599 motorcycles (including tricycles) in the country in 1996.

Jacobo expressed hope that motorcycle riders would heed the new policies of the LTO which are aimed to curb road accidents involving the two-wheeled motor vehicle.

“Riders are becoming safety conscious, which is evident with more riders now wearing helmets. But still, Filipinos are observed to be risk-takers and have misplaced values on the worth of life. There are riders who want to buy an expensive mobile phone but do not want to invest on a more expensive but better protective helmets. These misplaced values should also be changed,” she said.

According to a report submitted by Richard Domingo of the Metro Manila Accident Reporting and Analysis System, motorcycles are becoming the public’s favorite means of transport due to the need for mobility and affordability, and to beat the traffic problem and the ever-increasing fuel and fare prices.

“Nevertheless, the risk that it imposes to the motorcyclist is twice as high as compared to when one rides a car,” Domingo said. He also said motorcycles do not have the same safety features as a regular cars, which makes drivers and passengers more vulnerable to injuries when they figure in road accidents.

Based on the partial report of the MMDA Traffic and Transport Management Office, there were 11,182 road accidents involving motorcycles from January to November this year. This comprises one-fourth of the total number of road accidents in Metro Manila for the period.

In a more specific analysis of data, the MMDA Road Safety Unit said as early as August, there were already 6,962 incidents of road accidents involving motorcycles, with 51 fatalities.

Compared to the previous year for the same period, the number is relatively lower. From January to August of 2008, there were already 8,008 cases, with 82 fatalities. However, according to the report, even though the number of accidents and fatalities dropped in 2009, motorcycle- related accidents are still a major concern.

Out of the 6,962 incidents for the first semester of the year, non-fatal injuries dropped to 3,269 from 3,962 last year, while cases of damage to the vehicles were pegged at 3,642 from last year’s 3,964.

Of the 15 cities tallied, Quezon City topped the list with 1,825 reported cases. Marikina tallied 571; Caloocan, 556; Valenzuela, 540; and Las Piñas, 534.

Quezon City also posted the highest number of fatalities with 20, while Marikina had nine. Valenzuela and Manila each posted five deaths. Malabon, Navotas, Pasay, Pasig, and Pateros did not contribute to the list of fatalities while Muntinlupa, Parañaque, San Juan, Taguig, Las Piñas, and Mandaluyong each had one.

According to the report, motorcycle accidents involve not only drivers and their passengers but also pedestrians.

Data compiled by the office indicate that of the fatalities, 38 were drivers, eight were backriders while eight were pedestrians. Of those injured, drivers are also the most affected with 2,183,748 passengers were injured while 934 pedestrians were also hurt.

Most accident factors are not stated in the blotter book, but records indicate that human error plays a major part. Bikers usually get carried away and go too fast, become inattentive on the road. Some also partake of alcohol before driving, or refuse to wear safety gear, making them doubly vulnerable to accidents.


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