Reader’s lament

We received this email from a reader by the name of Danilo Gabriel:

“You may have encountered this too, driving along Manila roads, but why do motorcycle riders, bicycle riders make a counterflow thereby occupying your lane. It seems unfair, sir. I hope through your column this may be corrected and proper laws be implemented.”

We’ve been asking this question ourselves ever since this column came out more than two decades ago.

And to this day we still can’t satisfactorily answer the question of why this continues to happen.

Every reasonable motorist on the road knows that going against the flow of traffic—the counterflow as many call it—is dangerous. Acccidents waiting to happen.

Still we can only again raise the call for proper education and strict enforcement of traffic rules and regulation.

We really need to start educating children on traffic rules and regulations, and inculcating in them the discipline needed to keep our roads safe for everyone—pedestrians, motorists of the two-wheeled and four-wheeled variety, bikers, those who use e-scooters etc—so they grow up to be responsible road users.

We also need to be strict about enforcing traffic laws on bikers and motorcycle riders. This should start at the barangay level.

Here we understand why our reader talks about fairness. It is unfair to drivers of cars who obey traffic laws only to see bicycle and motorcycle riders being allowed to counterflow or ignore traffic signs.

But more than fairness is the issue of safety. Especially now that authorities are encouraging people to take active transport modes—bikes and scooters.

To be fair, there are motorcycling groups and cycling advocates, who themselves are undertaking initiatives, programs and seminars to teach and encourage their peers to obey all traffic regulations.

Still, more really needs to be done about catching and penalizing cyclists and motorcycle riders who violate traffic regulations.

Uneasy riders

There is a growing suspicion that many motorcycles travelling on expressways are not powered by 400cc engines as mandated by law.

There is talk that somehow many owners have found a way, with connivance from fixers at the Land Transportation Office (LTO) to get registration papers to say their motorcycles are powered by 400cc or more engines.

These are then used to get Autosweep or EasyTrip RFIDs that allow them to get into expressways.

There is also talk that dubious registration papers are not even needed to get RFIDs, only the connivance of those who issue them.

As early as 2018, the Toll Regulatory Board (TRB) has been urging tollway operators to be strict about enforcing the 400cc rule for motorcycles.

But somehow more and more motorcycles are being sold with designs and accessories that make them look like big bikes, making it difficult for tollway operators to distinguish those that are allowed on expressways.

If these talks are accurate, tollway operators as well as traffic enforcers will have to become experts, or at least proficient or knowledgeable enough about motorcycles to be able to ensure only legitimate 400cc and up bikes are allowed on expressways.

MRT-7 trains

Even as construction of the elevated tracks and stations for MRT-7 continues toward completion, the first batch of trains consisting of two trainsets or six cars or coaches for the MRT-7 has arrived.

This should be a source for optimism that despite current difficulties brought about by the Covid-19 pandemic, economic progress will continue.

Ramon Ang, president of San Miguel Corporation (SMC), believes this to be true, saying:“The timely arrival of these brand new, high-quality trains from South Korea—known as one of the world’s best train and rail systems builders—is such a welcome development, and I believe holds a lot of significance. At a time when many are feeling uncertain about our country’s future because of the pandemic, this shows that the job of nation-building, continues; that the work of improving our infrastructure, boosting our economic growth prospects, and investing in our country’s brighter future, also doesn’t stop—especially for us in San Miguel.”

The MRT-7 will see a 22.8-km elevated rail transit line with 14 stations from San Jose in Bulacan to North Avenue in Quezon City where it will link with MRT-3.

More batches are expected from South Korea’s Hyundai ROTEM over the next few months until the full fleet of 108 cars or 36 trainsets are delivered.

Terra upgrade

Nissan Philippines has unveiled an upgraded Terra that should now able to fight toe to toe against the competition in the seven-seater midsize SUV segment.

The Terra arrives with a new look and upgraded features expected to match if not surpass rivals in class. Says Nissan Philippines president and managing drector Atsushi Najima: “The new Nissan Terra is a smart and reliable family SUV that gives you and your loved ones confidence, comfort, control, safety, and peace of mind.

“We took the well-known all-terrain toughness and capabilities from Nissan’s 70 years of SUV heritage, and added the latest technologies, to turn the new Terra into the perfect partner for sharing experiences with your family and loved ones.”

Happy Motoring!!! 

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