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Total disregard for safety

STANDING START - Lord Seno (The Freeman) - April 19, 2021 - 12:00am

With the current pandemic and its consequent protocols, no one should be out on a leisure drive. But of course, I understand that this is some form of keeping one’s sanity.

During the height of the quarantine last year, the Transcentral Highway was almost as empty as it was in the 2006, when we used to frequent the mountain road.  People who passed that route during the quarantine were either APORs or those who quickly needed some fresh air or some sweet corn. Then the quarantine period loosened and it seems more and more have caught the TCH bug. With that comes the usual kamotes.

While there are reasonable riders and diligent drivers, it seems that since the lockdown, there have been an increase of inexperienced yet aggressive and discourteous drivers with dressed up scooters who think like they are Valentino Rossi as well as many sport and adventure bikers who really and truly believe that they always own the road and that everybody should therefore get out of their way. There are also sports and performance cars that run more than the leisure limit (never mind the legal limit) and probably think that the TCH is a racetrack!

I personally believe that the TCH is no longer a highway. Well, maybe 10 years ago, it was. Born and raised in Cebu, we drove that mountain more than a hundred times already since it was made. Before, you could trust your fellow drivers to stay in there lanes. Now, it’s chaotic how those monkeys drive the mountain highway. 

In the last month alone, I have seen three road-cam videos of accidents and near-mishaps which drove to write about the TCH issue again. One that went viral was a big bike completely blocking off the opposite lane and causing an accident to a couple in a motorcycle who had to do evasive action by ditching the motorcycle in the side of the road. That incident could have been easily a nasty head-on collision if not for the quick reflexes on the motorcycle driver to ditch his bike to the side of the road.

Up 20km+ on the highway, I came across a corner they call the red cliff, where everybody converges.  We don’t have a problem with that, right? Yes and No.  I witnessed bikers roaring back and forth over the same half-mile of that sweeping road, U-turning with no regard for incoming traffic before roaring back in the other direction. I was wondering what the heck was going on then I saw a group of photographers on the other side of the road, taking pictures of the bikers as they bank through the corner.

This has been a constant occurrence, even if the Cebu City Traffic Office and the LTO-7 together with the Highway Patrol Group have been doing patrols and checkpoints in the area. I wonder if they’ve issued anybody speeding or reckless driving tickets. Maybe it’s time to make a CTTO outpost in the mountains or a TCH Traffic Police.

I first discovered this shortly after the quarantine was loosened from GCQ to MGCQ.  But now, I know what you’re going to say: “What was this guy doing up there when he just said it’s not proper to leisurely drive up, and just exactly who are you exactly to tell me that I drive like an idiot?”

You have a good point. Maybe I shouldn’t have been out or up there. But I do drive cars for a living and believe me when I say I do it all safely. I am a racing driver and I also know that the TCH is not a playground.  We always reason out that we can handle those speeds because we are cool (feeling professionals). OK, but we always have to remember that we share this 40km+ strip of road with others.  Others, meaning, the general public who probably don't have exactly the same good judgment as we have.

SAFETY
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