During weekends, the sleepy Marikina-Infanta Road, more popularly known as Marilaque, turns into a busy thoroughfare full of tourists. A big chunk of them are composed of motorcycle riders trying to enjoy its beautiful scenery and of course, its fine winding roads.

Unfortunately, this once-serene landscape has also attracted unruly crowds of motorcycle riders who see this road as a place for hooning that sometimes end in tragedy. Just last weekend, various motorcycle groups have expressed uproar in social media which stemmed from a rider, who, for two-seconds of social media fame, rode his scooter wearing nothing but his helmet and brief (as well as slippers).

The rider was apprehended by local authorities from Tanay and was charged with multiple traffic violations, including the eventual confiscation of the scooter. As it turns out, the motorcycle rider who was also charged with driving without a license, was only riding a borrowed scooter from a friend who was said to be the friend of the real owner.

The real owner, posted on his social media account (which has since been taken down), appealed for help from certain motorcycle riding groups in a bid to help him get his motorcycle back.

Riding jackets, heavy pants pushed for all motorcycle riders

As a consequence, some motorcycle groups have pushed anew for requiring all motorcycle riders to wear heavy/padded jackets and riding pants as it would be safer to ride wearing all the riding gear. Last year, during a press briefing, Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) General Manager, Jojo Garcia, told reporters that the agency is looking to penalize motorcycle riders, including pillions, who wear shorts when riding their motorcycles.

“The motorcycle's engine is hot, including the exhaust pipe, and if the [rider] person did not wear socks or what, their skin might get burned and may cause an accident,” he said. The MMDA GM also said that their office met with their counterparts in the LTO to recommend the creation of laws and policies concerning the proper attire for motorcycle riders, among them, the requirement of wearing leather boots and gloves.

“Protective devices shall include: helmets, goggles, leather boots, and protective clothing such as heavy pants, heavy jacket, leather gloves, and rain suit” added GM Garcia.

On the other hand, some motorcycle groups, do not agree with the proposed rule, citing that our weather here in the Philippines is very warm and humid. Add to that the worsening traffic situation where bikes are sometimes at a standstill. Requiring motorcycle riders, especially those who ride their motorcycles every day, to wear heavy jackets and pants may do more harm than good. 

The Philippines is a tropical country with humidity at about 82% and the hottest temperature at 42 degrees. That's enough to put a healthy man down with heat stroke,” said Jobert Bolanos, chairman of the group Riders of the Philippines (ROTP).

He also stressed that motorcycles have become a necessity these days and it has also become a tool for carrying passengers, as well as materials that include food and almost everything under the sun. That being said, says Bolanos, would mean that more and more motorcyclists are on the roads under the heat of the sun and forcing them to wear thick clothing is like putting them on their death beds.

What we need to focus on is the discipline and education of our road users and not knee jerk laws like this,” added Bolanos.

So far, the laws of the land concerning proper attire for motorcycle riders require only: a standard helmet and closed-toe shoes, as confirmed by EDSA Boss Bong Nebrija, Jr.

“In Metro Manila, walang hulihan ng naka shorts. Hindi siya bawal, for now (In Metro Manila, we won't catch you if you're riding in shorts. It's not prohibited for now).”

Pag-naka shorts ka at naka-tsinelas ka, huhulihin ka namin (if you are wearing shorts and slippers, we'll catch you) because you are in slippers. We apprehend them because they are in slippers because that is dangerous.” Riding naked, however, can be in violation of other non-traffic related laws.