Last weekend, we joined the Nationwide Simultaneous Unity Ride held to show riders' dissatisfaction with Republic Act 11235, or the Doble Plaka law and its provisions. No doubt, many of you might have caught a glimpse of the long convoy early on Sunday morning. But did you catch the start of it?
To our suprise, leading the very long convoy of riders from various groups and clubs was none other than this rider who has become a viral hit on social media, lately. While it's hard to identify just what kind of motorcycle it is, the plates can clearly be read from farther than 15 meters away. He's even wearing military camouflage gear as if preparing to go to war.
Like a rolling effigy, the rider has fitted his bike with tarpaulins in the shape of motorcycle plates with characters clearly legible from quite a distance. Though greatly exagerrated, this display is meant to show the public and the government, how a discriminatory attitude towards riders and a lack of consultation with them when crafting the law can greatly impact the riders and their motorcycles. Clearly, the effect on the motorcycle's agility, the space it occupies on the road, and how it affects other vehicles in traffic are clear as day. The motorcycle is now practically as wide as a car. If the rider were to attempt to even lean in while cornering (something motorcycles were designed to do), he would definitely hit the road with his plate.
Oddly enough, this exaggerated execution did not attract any attention from police or traffic enforcers. He was never pulled over for any traffic violation. After all, clear vehicle identification is what they wanted, isn't it? Unfortunately, it comes at the cost of the riders' welfare and safety, and possibly that of othe motorists too.
Perhaps the final point this exercise is meant to illustrate is, if our lawmakers were able to push forward the original Motorcycle Crime Prevention Act as is, what would have stopped them if they wanted plates as big as this? This is why the Unity Ride was held: to have riders' voices heard.
Perhaps one good thing to come out of this is that the government has recently said that it is open to suggestions for the front plate design and implementation from the private sector and rider communities.