Motorcycle riders still get killed despite helmets; poll shows whyBy Paolo G. Montecillo
Philippine Daily Inquirer
More than half of motorcycle riders in Metro Manila don’t wear helmets properly, leading to thousands of deaths and injuries every year, a government survey showed.
The Metro Manila Development Authority (MMDA) and the Land Transportation Office (LTO) on Wednesday stressed the importance of wearing helmets and other protective gear when riding motorcycles.
Among the various types of vehicles, motorcycles are now also the second-highest grouping that figures in road accidents nationwide, coming in behind private cars.
“There’s no such thing as a fender-bender when riding a motorcycle. Usually, accidents result in injuries or even death,” MMDA traffic discipline office director Yves Gonzalez said.
A survey by the MMDA and the LTO conducted on October 19 showed that while 98 percent of motorcycle riders wear helmets, only 43 percent of them wear the headgear correctly. About 34 percent of the helmets were worn with the straps loosely fastened, while 23 percent were not fastened at all.
According to the MMDA, a helmet may be considered securely fastened if a person can slip no more than one finger between the strap and the rider’s chin.
If not tightly fastened, “the helmet could potentially fall off, offering no head protection at all,” the agency said.
The survey was conducted ahead of the implementation of Republic Act No. 10054 or the National Motorcycle Helmet Law, which takes effect on January 1 next year.
The new law maintains that all helmets sold in the country should comply with a set of quality standards.
Motorcycle riders can also have their existing helmets checked and certified with the DTI until the end of the year. Those caught without helmets that meet government standards will be fined P1,500 for the first offense, P3,000 for the second offense, P5,000 for the third, and P10,000 for the fourth.
Data from 2010, the most recent available information, showed that 34 percent of all fatal road accidents and 37 percent of the nonfatal accidents involved motorcycles. A total of 6,941 Filipinos died in road accidents that year.