On riders and safety
ROSES AND THORNS - Pia Roces Morato (The Philippine Star) - August 7, 2020 - 12:00am

In a recent show I found out that 95 percent of motorcycle riders have not gotten the much needed education in terms of road rules and safety. It seems therefore that we are relying too much on the 5 percent of riders who can possibly share their wealth of knowledge when it comes to the vast number of Filipinos who own a motorcycle but need to be informed about the do’s and don’ts on the road.

Moto Turismo in Spain taught me a lot of things and it was the very first time I witnessed how responsible riders were like over there and, more so, their knowledge on culture. I don’t mean to compare – really I don’t, but experiencing all this just makes one wish that we strive harder to invest in this sector.

There are, as I am told, 17 million riders throughout the nation and, in this new normal, this form of transportation seems to be the safest in terms of physical distancing, not to mention the low cost of acquiring a motorcycle. Thus it will, in my opinion, also change the way we view transport all together.

But going back to education, it is quite essential that we do what we must in terms of educating those that still need to develop the right riding attitude and skill on the road. I’m very blessed to have friends in this sector as they continue to advise me on their concerns as well as their advocacy in helping riders understand how they must conduct themselves responsibly on the road.

The current issues faced by riders today are valid and there seems to be a communication gap between policy makers and actual riders. Therefore, a consultative approach is in order and, while many of us who are non-riders lack the same understanding of road rules and safety, I suppose one can say it is imperative that the motorcycle riding sector be taken into consideration, for the simple reason that we share the road.

Discipline is a major concern, whether it be for riders or pedestrians. Building awareness applies to all. While we do see riders falling short, we must also take into account that many of these riders are frontline heroes risking their lives to satisfy our essential needs in this pandemic. It truly is a situation that requires some giving and not just taking.

The passion of responsible riders in developing this sector is real. Their goal is not only a practical one, nor just one of leisure. Responsible riders want to live to see the day that an upgrade in this sector will also evolve into an upgrade in other sectors, for instance, in health. Motorcycle riders can one day be tapped into the medical field as transporters of aid. By doing so, more jobs can be generated. I suppose COVID-19, on the up side, is forcing us to become more creative as we open up to alternative solutions. But, in order for us to achieve this, we must be able to identify the needs that affect all sides – and in this case specifically, the side of the riders who use motorcycles not just as an alternative solution to transport but also a way of life.

We need to change our mindset, coupled with better education because after all, as they say, it is a two-way-street.

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