About a thousand motorcycle riders rode up Marilaque (Marikina-Rizal-Laguna-Quezon) highway as part of a unity ride in protest of the rise of unruly motorcycle riders who frequent the stretch of the road. The September 1, 2019 event, dubbed '#MakeMarilaqueSafeAgain' saw this large gathering ride together in a leisurely, orderly pace in order to demonstrate the proper and safe way to enjoy the road.
The unruly motorcycle riders who frequent this stretch of the highway have made it their staging ground to practice high speed cornering, engage in illegal racing, and even perform stunts on public roads. These reckless actions not only show a blatant disregard for road safety, property, and the safety of other road users, but have also affected the lives of the local business owners for the worse.
“We are now contemplating on opening our coffee shop only on certain days because business is slowing down,” said Wilma Good, owner of Mount Tarangka Coffee Shop at Sitio Pinagtarangkaan. Her coffee shop is situated along Marilaque's most notorious and accident prone curves, what motorcycle riders call “Big C.” Wilma Good and her staff estimate that no less than 200 accidents had already occurred at Big C, most of which had led to serious injuries or have even been fatal.
Motorcycle riders hanging out at "Big C."
She recalls that, not too long ago, tourists on 4-wheels, cyclists and even skateboarders / longboarders frequented her shop. But because of the influx of unruly motorcycle riders or kamote riders who also have made the front of her shop a tambayan (hang out place), only a few to no tourists dare to visit her establishment for fear of being involved in an accident.
The term, kamote rider, is a colloquial phrase used to describe a motorcycle rider whose disregard for road safety or coutesy often leads to a road mishap.
Mang Frank, also said that his business slowed down due to the bad reputation of Marilaque to tourists.
Another popular hang out place for these unruly motorcycle riders is the portion called “Manukan” at Barangay Cuyambay. The name is derived from the gamefowl (manok) farm that shares a border with the road. Erning, one of the caretakers of the farm says the loud exhaust notes from the riders' motorcycles are stressful for their gamefowl. The once peaceful area, ideal for gamefowl breeding has become a loud and rowdy area, owing to groups of riders parking along the stretch, racing, performing stunts, and leaving trash by the roadside.
Manukan is another favorite hangout of riders, where they race and cheer on other reckless riders.
The owner of the farm is furious over such disregard for the area's peace and quiet and is planning to ban these riders once the Governor of Rizal has given them the authority.
During the unity ride, which stopped at the Big C to lay banners, MotoPinas.com also met with Loreto Sontohot, Rizal Provincial Director of the Motorcycle Community Organization for Peace and Security. He says that they are also mad at these kamote riders because a lot of Rizal residents, who are passing through the stretch of road as part of their daily routine were involved in road accidents with these reckless riders. They are also doing whatever they can to at least discourage these unruly motorcycle riders from making Marilaque their playground and have deployed their members during weekends to assist with their road safety campaign.
Loreto Sontohot and his group, the Motorcycle Community Organization for Peace and Security remind motorcycle riders to slow down on this part of "Big C".
We hope and pray that the stretch of Marilaque will be safer again, just like the old days when one could simply enjoy the early morning breeze without the fear of some rider overshooting along your path. Special thanks to the Motorcycle Rights Organization for the information shared with MotoPinas.com.