After almost 4 months of being outlawed, backriding (or riding pillion) on motorcycles has recently been allowed again as the Philippine government gradually eases lockdown protocols. However, for the regular motorcycle rider and his pillion, the new backriding requirements have been costly, and for some, even dangerous.
Since the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) allowed backriding for couples who live in the same household, at least six motorcycle riders and their pillions have shared photos of their accidents with motorcycle rights group, Motorcycle Rights Organization.
“Yung barrier na basagbasag hindi po sya safe. Please lang wag na po sana mag barrier. (The barrier easily shatters and is unsafe. Please, we ask [the government] not to require it.),“ said a rider by the name of Dla Cruz on a social media post over their accident in Cubao, Quezon City on Friday.
She pointed out that it was a costly expense that has been wasted as the device is now dangerous and unusable.
“Again, bumili ako dahil sumusunod kami sa gusto nyo pero sana makarating ito sa inyo hindi po kami mamamatay sa semplang pero yung mga basag na piraso na muntik ng sumaksak samin pareho ang ikakamatay namin kung sakali. (We purchased one because this is what you wanted. We hope this reaches you. We didn't die from the accident, but the shattered pieces nearly impaled us and could have killed us.)”
Another incident involved a couple riding along the Shaw Boulevard flyover in Mandaluyong City. According to eyewitness accounts, a sudden gust of wind blew.The shield acted like a sail, caught the wind and threw the riders off their balance. The rider lost control of the motorcycle as a result.
A similar incident was reported on Saturday in Makati City. A sudden gust of wind blew a couple on a scooter. The shield caught the wind causing them to lose control.
Unsafe and unnecessary cost
Experts in the field of motorcycle safety have already pointed out that the shield is both unsafe, and an unnecessary expense. Fabricators who are familair with the material also pointed out acrylic glass's brittle nature, as it may shatter and impale the rider and his pillion in the event of a crash. Motorcycle rights group, Motorcycle Rights Organization has also called on the government to hear the opinion of experts and professionals in the motorcycle industry before enacting protocols that would affect the lives of motorcycle riders.