It’s ECQ season 2 now. Along with tighter quarantine restrictions are travel limitations.
Perhaps, one of the dilemmas many motorcycle riders face during the enhanced lockdown is the time it takes to be processed or checked at checkpoints set up by the authorities in key areas within the “NCR-plus bubble”.
According to one of our police officer friends who’s deployed in one of these checkpoints, a lot of times, it is a motorcycle rider causing the delay. This is usually due to incomplete documents such as no OR/CR or driver’s license. Or, they can’t present any ID that shows that he and his backride are from the same household.
Being motorcycle riders ourselves, we at MotoPinas.com have come up with a couple of tips to possibly speed up and ease the verification process with police officers when passing a checkpoint during periods like ECQ.
Some of us may be tired or maybe just having a bad day, but don’t bring your grumpy attitude to the checkpoint. According to our police friend, police officers, as well as other law enforcement units like barangay tanods, are humans too. They, too, have probably had a long day of checking riders' documents.
It reminds me of my younger days as a motorcycle rider. My boastfulness and stupidity got me into some trouble at a police checkpoint. So I was ticketed with all the possible traffic violations they could levy at me. After the incident, one of the police officers said that if I was only courteous, they could have just let me go and be on my way home.
Bottom line, being courteous to law enforcers goes a long way, and a simple “good morning” or “good evening sir” could calm tensions and ease your passage throuh a checkpoint.
Ready your documents
A lot of motorcycle riders often keep their registration documents (OR/ CR) under the seat of their motorcycles or even inside the top box. This is well and good during normal times. However, these days, there is a police checkpoint at every city boundary.
To speed up the verification process while at a checkpoint, it is advisable to have another copy of your motorcycle’s registration documents, as well as your valid driver’s license inside a bag or pouch where you can access quickly. This eliminates the need to step down from your motorcycle to open the utility box.
Pro tip: Remember during your elementary days where your school ID was just a laminated piece of paper? Well, some creative motorcycle riders also have a copy of their OR/CR laminated to quickly show at the police checkpoint. You can attach a lanyard to these laminated OR/CRs to wear like an ID. You can even attach it with a keychain to the keys.
If you're an APOR, bring proof
APOR stands for Authorized Person Outside of Residence, and according to the latest IATF rules, only these persons are allowed to travel during the ECQ.
An APOR is basically anyone who works for any of the IATF's listed essential industries, like utility corporations, banks, food production personnel and similar important fields. They're also people who need to travel to go to work, or who work in logistics-related field. We've made a list HERE. If you work for any of these industries, bring your work ID and present it at the checkpoint. If your place of employment can provide you with a certificate of employment, even better. Present this with your ID.
Besides these jobs, you could be allowed passage through a checkpoint if you need to access essential services like buying food, medicine, go to the bank, or to a hospital or clinic. This is not a guarantee you'll be let through, but it may be a consideration if the service is only available beyond the checkpoint.
Wear proper riding gear
You may have the right documentation, but there are instances that a verification procedure at a checkpoint could still get you a traffic violation ticket. To avoid this scenario, make sure that you and your pillion wear proper motorcycle riding gear. This includes a standard motorcycle helmet (not a nut shell) and closed-toe shoes.
Doing so also speeds up the verification process at the checkpoint since police officers could go ahead with the next rider instead of spending a couple of minutes ticketing you.
Don't cut the line (huwag sumingit)
The authorities are working as hard as they can to avoid delaying the public. Do your part and follow the line that has formed. Don't try to find a gap ahead and try to squeeze in (para sumingit). You'll only draw the anger of the authorities and your fellow riders. Worse off, if the authorities catch you, you'll be forced to go to the back of the line. Some reckless drivers even counterflow when forced to go back, making it dangerous to other motorists. Don't be like that and follow the line from the start.
Use Waze/ Google Maps to find the best route
Technology is very indispensable these days, and being a step ahead is very crucial. You might accidentally end up at a checkpoint without intending to.
To avoid this, find out where the checkpoints are and plan your route ahead. Mobile apps like Waze or Google Maps will show heavy traffic build up on what should be empty streets. They could be an indicator that there's a checkpoint on that road. This is especially handy if you just need to go to the bank or grocery without crossing city / district borders and having to cross a checkpoint.
Use these apps to pre-plan your route to avoid checkpoints with long queues and find one with a shorter line if there is. You can download and cache the route ahead of time so you don't use data. But with mobile data on, these apps will update you of the traffic situation in real-time and can suggest other routes that will make your travel faster.
These are just some of our suggestions, based on our experience and advice from our friendly police officers. It is still best to use your better judgment as a motorcycle rider when traveling and interacting with authorities. If you can, avoid going out altogether. The quarantine is being imposed for a reason.