Close to a thousand motorcycle riders joined the Sept. 1 unity ride to Marilaque, in a call to stop hooliganism on public roads. The unity ride was held on Marilaque (Marikina, Rizal, Laguna, Quezon) Highway, a stretch of road popular among riders due to its scenic views, smooth surface and winding curves. The Highway which stretches from the City of Marikina all the way to the province of Quezon, through mountains and valleys towards Luzon's east coast.
The popular stretch of road, owing to its smooth surface and sweeping curves, has been turned into a race track by some riders, where they practice or show off their high speed cornering, sometimes resulting in injury, damage to property, or death.
The unity ride was spearheaded by the Motorcycle Rights Organization, which called for action to make this road safe again. The advocacy was also supported by the Luzon Motorcyclists Federation, Inc. – a group that is mostly composed of big bike motorcycle clubs.
"Whatever they [unruly riders] say, there is no denying that there is a problem. And the problem needs to be addressed," said Jobert Bolanos, current MRO Chairman. Until recently, motorcycle riding along this stretch of the Marilaque highway was leisurely and enjoyable, due to it being just a stone's throw away from Metro Manila. Its popularity encouraged businesses to open along the stretch to cater to (mostly) hungry tummies of tourists who flock this area.
Now, due to the influx of more reckless motorcycle riders who see Marilaque not as a tourist destination but as a race track, the tourist numbers are dwindling. These riders traverse the stretch at high speed, disregarding traffic laws, which often result in accidents. Many of the frequent visitors are now avoiding the area due to the higher likelihood of being involved in an incident with these high-speed reckless riders. Because of the drop in tourism, the businesses have also been affected.
In fact, the Municipality of Tanay has already enacted measures to bring discipline back to their stretch of Marilaque and will be imposing hefty penalties to law-breakers.
“The situation is desperate,” reiterated Bolanos. “We are ashamed for only acting on it now. We cannot, must not allow this to go on if we are to continue fighting for rider rights. It's hypocrisy. We have to do something to clean our own backyards as well.”
The group also reported that although there were zero accidents during the unity ride. However, there were still a few who did not wish to participate and cut through the motorcade in a dangerous manner.
"Eventually, the time will come and I pray that it won't happen, that they [unruly riders] are down on the pavement. Their influence on others is already taking its toll on the community. Though we just shake our heads in disbelief to these hooligans, I am very proud to congratulate everyone on a statement made on Marilaque," added Bolanos.