When the government initially allowed backriding (riding pillion) again for couples who live in the same household, a barrier between the two riders was required. That additional requirement drew a lot of flak from the motorcycle-riding community, manufacturers, safety experts, and even engineers.
Then, on August 19, the Joint Task Force COVID Shield lifted the barrier requirement for riding couples living in the same household. However, as a minimum health and safety requirement, these couples should still wear a motorcycle-specific helmet with at least a visor that covers the entire face, and a face mask.
EDSA boss, Edison “Bong” Nebrija of the MMDA, in a social media post, reminded his followers, especially riding couples to follow these minimum health and safety standards.
“Alam nyo po, tinanggal na natin yung requirement na may barrier, pero meron tayo requirement dun sa helmet (As you know, we already removed the barrier requirement but we still have a requirement on helmet),” said Nebrija.
A simple rule
Nebrija said motorcycle groups lobbied for the removal of the barrier shield since these couples not only lived in the same household but also share the same bed at night. So, the government relented, but under the condition that at least the visors should be closed or covers the whole face.
“Yung iba, may mga visor pero ang problema, hindi ibinababa...’Pag napagsabihan, saka lang ibinababa.” (Others have a helmet visor but the problem is they're not closing it...When caught, that's the only time they close it.)
Besides the visor issue, the EDSA boss also pointed out that there were a lot of riders apprehended who were not wearing the prescribed standard motorcycle safety helmet. These riders were wearing bicycle helmets, or even construction helmets, which are unsuitable for motorcycle use. During the operation, one pillion rider was even wearing what looked like a dilapidated helmet with a missing/ broken visor.
While it might be tempting to pull up our helmet’s visor especially now that the traffic is going back to the “old normal”, it will be best to always keep it closed while riding with your loved one.
“Imbes na ticketan namin kayo, ipambili nyo na lang ng bagong helmet." (Instead of using the money to pay the fine for a ticket, just use it for more important things like buying your loved one a new helmet), warns Nebrija.