Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Motorcycles: The literal manifestation of “Palusot” in our streets

(Note:  For this article, motorcycle refers to the underbones, their variants, and close relatives such as mopeds and scooters).

Anyone who had driven a car in Metro Manila would have experienced being cut-off by a motorcycle.  In plain Tagalog, “LUSOT!”  It does not need a long time of driving before experiencing a situation where a motorbike suddenly inserts itself in the safety space that you left between you and the next vehicle.  The most common experience I have with motorcycles are them wheezing by me—left and right and front and back—during bumper to bumper traffic.  They insert themselves in all kinds of crevices:  in between cars in the middle of the road, in between cars and the curb, in the curb itself, on center islands, and so on and so forth.  Moreover, motorcycles violate other traffic rules as well:  counter flow, speeding, broken or illegal safety accessories such as lights, overloading, drunken driving, and the list goes on and on and on.  It is not surprising then that a significant portion of traffic accidents recorded involved motorcycles.

This phenomenon came about not by chance but by a confluence of events and situations.  The main driving reason for the use of motorcycles is of course the narrow streets that we have which hinder four-wheeled vehicles.  Coupled with its relatively cheap price, motorcycles are the answer for those who “can afford to spend a little money” but cannot afford to be late for work—in short the common, everyday working Juan and Juana in this “Nation of Liars, Cheaters, and Thieves.”  And here lies the second problem.  Many of these motorcycle riders too easily acquire licenses through fixers and corrupt LTO personnel.  Because they did not pass through the process especially the seminar, many of them are totally ignorant even of the most basic traffic laws.  Now join this ignorance with the “all knowing feeling” of the average motorcycle rider and you have a real pest on the roads.

I can take this article further in various directions but let me stop here to hear the adverse reactions of motorcycle riders!  Banat!  Hahaha!


  1. The motorcycle is freedom for those scraping to get by, the family sedan for 5, 6, or 7 (small) people, the utility vehicle for hauling stuff, the way to get to work or play. Laws are really quite irrelevant, as they are seldom enforced. Why bother about knowing them? Laws aren't enforced because there is a certain pragmatism to being poor, like not being able to afford helmets for the whole family. So police will make a show now and then, but aren't inclined to shut financially strapped people down from traveling.

    1. so let us just accept that there is a separate law for the poor and another for the rich?

      fine with me, if you ask...


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