By now, most of Metro Manila’s major roads have dedicated bicycle lanes for active transport commuters. It's also open to some of the more unique Personal Mobility Devices (PMDs) such as e-bikes, electric kick scooters, electric unicycles, Segways and the like.
While these lanes were designed to protect these riders from motorists, it's also to prevent these riders from using larger motor vehicle lanes. After all, in the event of an accident, these smaller vehicles will likely fare worse, suffering more serious accidents, than those in motorcycles and cars.
So what happens if the rider of a PMD does not want to use the bicycle lane and continues to ride on the regular lane? Can the authorities impose a fine even if they are not required to possess a driver’s license? It's actually much harsher. The authorities can impound the vehicle.
Why such a harsh ruling? According to the Land Transportation Office (LTO), PMD riders outside bicycle lanes force other motorists to slow down. They can cause a traffic buildup, because these larger cars will likely want to pass these slower vehicles, and while have to change lanes or maneuver around them to do so. If caught outside the bicycle lane, they could be flagged and their PMD ride confiscated or impounded, since they are currently not required to have a valid driver’s license.
“The individual [who] has committed a violation termed as ‘obstruction’, the electric vehicle will be impounded to compel the rider to settle the corresponding penalty,” said the LTO through an infomercial they shared on their official social media page.
Obstruction has a penalty of PhP 150.00. However, when a vehicle is impounded, another set of fees will be imposed that may also include “storage fees” if the PMD is left at the impounding area for a few days. These can quickly add up from a couple hundred to a couple thousand.
So to our brethren in PMDs, stay within the bicycle lane when there is one. It's not only safer, it will also save you quite a lot.