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Opinion

EDITORIAL - A matter of enforcement

The Philippine Star
EDITORIAL - A matter of enforcement

If the government wants to keep e-tricycles and e-bikes off national roads and highways, it should strictly enforce the ban on such vehicles, whether gas-powered or electric. This should happen before considering proposals to register e-bikes and requiring their drivers to secure a license. An e-bike was reportedly caught on video using the EDSA bus carousel. If the image is genuine, that was a failure of traffic enforcement.

Many local government units in urbanized areas banned tricycles and pedicabs from major roads and busy secondary streets long before a nationwide ban was ordered by the Department of the Interior and Local Government in 2020. All over the country, however, enforcement of the ban has been spotty, especially in areas with inadequate mass transport services. In Manila’s Divisoria commercial district, pedicabs ply the crowded streets. The DILG recently ordered LGUs to update their tricycle route plans.

E-bikes have become a favored mode of transportation for low-income families. Parents use e-bikes to bring their young children to school or go to the wet market and run other errands. The government will have to consider the impact on the poor in requiring the registration of e-bikes along with a driver’s license to operate the vehicle for private use.

The government can impose such regulations for the commercial use of e-bikes, similar to those imposed on tricycles. As in four-wheeled motor vehicles, the operation of e-bikes by minors must also be strictly regulated, and banned on busy thoroughfares. In 2022, the DILG recorded 2,829 road accidents nationwide involving bicycles, e-bikes and pedicabs, and another 2,241 involving tricycles.

Instead of collecting fees for the private use of e-bikes, LGUs should designate the areas where such vehicles can run, and then strictly enforce the rules. In many areas including busy thoroughfares in urban centers, there are special lanes for bicycles, whose riders are not required to secure a license.

In regulating road transportation, revenue raising must never be the main consideration. This objective underpinned the implementation of the no-contact apprehension programs of various LGUs in Metro Manila, with a private company directly involved in enforcing traffic rules and collecting the lion’s share of fees. The objectives in road transport regulation must be to keep traffic flowing smoothly and ensuring sufficient public transportation while at the same time promoting the safety of motorists, bikers, their passengers and pedestrians alike.

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