Motorcycle rider Erwin Tapia grumbled Monday about his encounter last week with a traffic enforcer of the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) on Macapagal Avenue in Pasay City.
“I was flagged down… because I wasn’t [using] the motorcycle lane,” he said in Filipino. “I told the enforcer the law was not yet in effect but he ignored me and [insisted on issuing me a traffic violation receipt]. [To end the] discussion, I had no choice but to slip him something,” he told Ruby Anne Bron of the MMDA traffic discipline office.
Tapia was among 10 riders who were accosted by traffic enforcers for not using the motorcycle lane on Macapagal Avenue on Monday, the start of a week-long dry run of the program.
Instead of being fined P500, motorcyclists were just subjected to a 15-minute on-the-spot seminar on safe motorcycle riding initiated by the MMDA in cooperation with the Motorcycle Federation of the Philippines.
Bron, who was conducting the seminar on the sidewalk of the busy thoroughfare, asked Tapia for the name of the traffic enforcer but the latter said he did not take note of the man’s name.
“If you encounter these people, you should remember their names and complain to us,” Bron said, adding, “Otherwise we can’t do anything about them.”
Tapia was among the more than 700 motorcycle drivers who were flagged down by MMDA traffic enforcers on Commonwealth and Macapagal Avenues—the pilot sites for its motorcycle lane program—part of the agency’s efforts to reduce motorcycle-related accidents.
Under the program, motorcycle riders on Macapagal Avenue can use only the rightmost lane while those on Commonwealth Avenue should confine themselves to the fourth lane.
Other vehicles can use the motorcycle lanes but motorcycle riders should restrict themselves to the lane allocated for their use. Starting next week, they will be fined P500 each time they step outside the motorcycle lane, unless they intend to make a turn.
Among those who were accosted were riders who were not wearing crash helmets, appropriate footwear or whose motorcycles were not in good running condition.
Bron, meanwhile, said that most of the drivers who underwent the seminar were initially apprehensive but they later agreed that it was helpful because it offered tips on safe motorcycle driving.
For instance, one rider, who declined to be identified, asked if he could wear slippers instead of rain boots during heavy rains.
Bron, however, replied that the law prohibits the use of open-toed shoes among motorcycle riders.