Know the limits of your motorcycle

The coronavirus pandemic has really been tough for a lot of us. Now with the ECQ extended, a lot of people who can’t go out of their homes rely on motorcycle courier services such as Lalamove, Grab, Toktok and the like.

While our brothers and sisters in this industry want to do their jobs well and may sometimes even accept large and bulky items, some customers often exploit their kindness. Some will even book them to transport ridiculously large items to save on service fee (SF) costs. These kinds of cargo not only endangers the rider but also other road users.

On the other hand, if you're thinking of transporting something large and bulky yourself, it's best to know the limits of what's safe to transport by two wheels to avoid getting a ticket yourself.

To save you, the rider, from fines and possible injury, we’ve compiled traffic rules to orient you with what’s can and cannot be carried on our motorcycles.

Net capacity

Know what’s considered overloading and what’s not image

As a rule of thumb, you cannot carry anything that exceeds the motorcycle's Net Capacity, which is written on the motorcycle’s Certificate of Registration (CR). Exceeding this limit will be considered by the authorities as overloading.

This figure is usually half of the Gross Vehicle Weight of the motorcycle. Also, take note that this figure is only for the cargo. Most motorcycles that are used for road use are also designed to carry one (1) pillion rider.


Know what’s considered overloading and what’s not image

In Quezon City, there is an ordinance specifically prohibiting overloading in motorcycles. Ordinance No. SP-2467, S-2015, prescribes the dimensions, as well as how cargo should be secured on a motorcycle.

To easily understand the ordinance, Riders of the Philippines (ROTP) listed down 10 simple guidelines to avoid hefty fines, as well as avoid an accident:

  1. Cargo that is placed on the back seat of the motorcycle must be TIED DOWN using proper material such as nylon straps, rope, elastic nets or bands, including tie-downs with a ratchet and the like. Plastic straw rope, masking tape, scotch tape, packing tape or cling wrap and the like are not considered as acceptable tie-downs.
  2. The cargo must be in ONE container whether made of plastic, carton, textile or material that can hold the cargo together. This must be tied down properly in accordance with guideline number 1. No two or more pieces placed on top or beside each other will be considered as acceptable. This is considered as "loose" cargo and therefore dangerous.
  3. Cargo must be placed in a safe and secure location that will not interfere with the handling and hand or foot placement of the rider. No cargo must be placed in front unless it is a tank bag or the likes of which is specifically manufactured for motorcycle use. Preferred cargo placement is on the rear passenger seat.
  4. Cargo dimensions must not extend more than 1 meter from the center of the motorcycle to the sides.
  5. Cargo overhang towards the rear must not extend more than 1 foot from the rear of the motorcycle.
  6. Cargo must not extend above the head of the rider unless it is a musical instrument, engineering or architecture tool or other equipment carried in a bag that is strapped to the rider.
  7. Cargo weight must not go beyond the allowable load capacity of a motorcycle based on its user manual.
  8. Delivery bags with proper tie-downs or body straps are exempted from this ordinance. E.g.: Lalamove, Grab Food, and the like.
  9. Only one passenger other than the rider is allowed. The maximum number of people riding a motorcycle must not go over two (2) persons per motorcycle.
  10. If the motorcycle was not designed for two (2) persons or is not equipped with footpegs and a seat for the back rider (pillion), it shall be also considered as overloading.

Though most localities don't have an ordinance as specific as Quezon City, the Land Transportation Office (LTO) considers loading cargo beyond what is considered safe for a motorcycle as “reckless driving” since “it may endanger the property [or] safety or rights of any person” on the road which is indicated in JAO 2014-01. The penalty for the first offense is PhP2,000, up to PhP10,000 and suspension of driver’s license for the third and succeeding offenses.

Not worth it

Know what’s considered overloading and what’s not image

Like what was mentioned in the picture above, earning a PhP1,500 from service fee for these kinds of deliveries may not be worth it if we consider our safety as a motorcycle rider, as well as the safety of other road users.

For example, if your excessive motorcycle cargo scratches or damages another vehicle on the road, the cost of repaint or other work to fix the damage could well exceed PhP1,500, not to mention the lost time and other booking opportunities (abala) due to time spent in the police station filing an accident report.

Also, excessive motorcycle cargo could really affect how the motorcycle handles, which could lead to an accident. If that happens, the cost of the damaged goods, as well as the motorcycle and hospital bills will easily exceed PhP1,500.