Backriding in areas under General Community Quarantine will now be penalized as overloading. This is according to the Land Transportation Office's (LTO) new memorandum circular that outlines the proper enforcement of safety protocols for vehicles. As outlined by Republic Act No. 11469 or the “Bayanihan to Heal as One Act,” under these new guidelines, the Department of Transportation (DOTr) and LTO have classified backriding on motorcycles in General Community Quarantine (GCQ) areas as overloading.
The agencies continue to stress that backriding in areas under quarantine is still prohibited. Motorcycles cannot serve as public transportation. The limit for private motorcycles is still one person in compliance with physical distancing requirements. “The prohibition of backride passengers for motorcycle riders shall remain for the duration of the GCQ period,” the memo said.
Tricycles, however, can operate, subject to the discretion of their respective LGUs. Where allowed, the tricycle load shall not exceed one passenger. That passenger must be seated in the sidecar. No passenger shall be seated behind the tricycle driver.
The same rules apply to non-motorized forms of transport. No backriding on bicycles. Pedal tricycles (pedicabs), where allowed, can only have one passenger in the sidecar.
Failure to observe these guidelines will be met with the appropriate penalty. For riders caught with a backride or tricycles exceeding the maximum allowed number of passengers (1), they will be penalized with an Overloading offense.
For reference, the penalty for overloading as prescribed by RA 4136 imposes as penalty a fine of P2,000 to P3,000 (depending on the offense) and suspension of the certificate of public convenience. In the case of private operators, this may be the driver’s license.
These regulations will be enforced by LTO Law Enforcement and Traffic Adjudication Services, including deputized enforcers like the MMDA and PNP-HPG.