COVID Shield commander, Lt. Gen. Guillermo Eleazar blames accidents on faulty installation

Joint Task Force COVID Shield commander, Lt. Gen. Guillermo Eleazar, stands behind the safety of the required backrider shield. In a statement, he said the two approved designs of backrider shield by the government — one from Bohol governor Art Yap, and the other one from the ride-hailing app, Angkas — were studied, underwent trials, and is safe for riders and their pillions.

COVID Task Force chief insists backrider shield safe, faulty installation to blame image

“These two approved designs — the Bohol prototype, and the Angkas design — underwent a thorough study which includes the concept of aerodynamics and were also tested for quality safety standards," said Gen. Eleazar on Tuesday in response to several posts on social media blaming the government-required barriers for recent motorcycle accidents.

Governor Art Yap of Bohol has since retracted his proposal, after hearing the appeals of his constituents that the shield poses some serious safety risks when riding.

The COVID Shield chief also added that before approving the two designs, the National Task Force for Covid-19 made sure that the barriers would be effective in shielding riders from coronavirus infection and also safe from road accidents. The accidents reported, according to Eleazar, were caused by faulty installation and the use of sub-standard materials.

Not endorsed by motorcycle manufacturers

COVID Task Force chief insists backrider shield safe, faulty installation to blame image

The Philippines' top motorcycle manufacturers themselves strongly disagree, stating that it can act as a sail and catch wind, which will inevitably cause the rider to lose balance. The device may also prevent riders from safely separating from their motorcycles in the event of a crash, pinning them in their seats and possibly causing more harm.

The group also pointed out that the barrier did not go through years of research and development (R&D) by the manufacturers. The device was never part of a motorcycle's original design and could technically void the motorcycle’s warranty.

The government reminds the riding public that they have until July 26 to comply with the new backriding protocol, as authorities will strictly enforce it by Monday, July 27, 2020, imposing harsher fines and penalties for non-compliance.

Source: Philippine News Agency