With Cebu City considering implementing a policy to keep motorcycles on the rightmost lanes on major streets as a preventive measure against road accidents, shouldn’t Metro Manila follow suit?
It’s the sane and sensible solution to what has become pure bedlam and chaos on city streets with the proliferation of the two-wheeled vehicles since the government restricted mobility and imposed lockdowns due to the COVID-19 pandemic in March 2020.
Motorcycles have become an ubiquitous presence in major Metro Manila thoroughfares, such as EDSA, Commonwealth Avenue, and Quezon Avenue, among others.
We do recognize the need for motorcycles as a convenient way to get around the city. But it’s the lack of clear rules on how they should reach Point A to Point B that’s the problem.
Our motorcycle drivers, especially those working for online shopping and food deliveries, must be the most impatient people hereabouts as they fill up every available space on our roads, even those spaces between four-wheeled vehicles, just so they can reach their destinations faster than everyone.
Motorcyclists overtake four-wheeled vehicles on the left, on the right, and perhaps even overhead if they had the means to go airborne.
Road accidents involving motorcycles have therefore increased, leading to death and injury on an unprecedented scale.
It’s time for the Metro Manila Development Authority and the Land Transportation Office to rationalize the traffic system in Metro Manila and designate the rightmost lanes in the major thoroughfares for motorcycles.
Sometime back, the MMDA put up a dedicated lane for motorcycles along the six-lane EDSA—the second lane on the left—but also allowed four-wheeled vehicles to use them.
Over time, the motorcycle lanes fell to disuse, with the result that now motorcyclists jostle for every available space on EDSA and other major streets, with no regard for their own safety and that of others.
If the MMDA saw it fit to designate the rightmost part of EDSA as an exclusive bicycle lane, it makes sense to also keep motorcycles on a lane adjacent to the bicycle lane.
But motorcycles can also use the lanes to their left and to their right as long as these are unoccupied.
The dedicated motorcycle lane in the city center is being implemented in other cities abroad, such as Kuala Lumpur. Hanoi also keeps motorcycles on the rightmost lane, mostly in wide roads, except in the city center where they can occupy every available lane.
The Hanoi example appears to the casual observer as unwieldy and dangerous, but somehow it works, and pedestrians can cross the streets without fear that they could get sideswiped by speeding motorcycles.
We can understand if motorcyclists would raise a howl and launch protest actions if authorities keep them on a designated lane along the major roads in Metro Manila.
But they should also understand that it’s for their own safety and that of their pillion riders, and not a discriminatory move against those who can only afford to own two-wheeled vehicles.