LGUs enact new ordinances forcing motorcycles to stay on the rightmost lane of national highways

Motorcycles are by far the quickest and most efficient means of transport in a country like the Philippines. They can squeeze through the standstill traffic while burning little fuel. It is also the reason why many of the commuters these days prefer the services of motorcycle taxis or couriers over conventional ones on four wheels, as these services provide a faster solution to their transport requirements.

Unfortunately, some LGUs have started enacting local ordinances that target the motorcycle-riding population. More recently, these LGUs started prohibiting motorcycles from using the inner-most lane (fast lane) and have set penalties for those who violate them.

In Angeles City in Pampanga, for example, they have enacted City Ordinance no. 423-S-2017 and prescribe PhP300.00 up to PhP1,000.00 in penalties for violators. In the town of Agoo, in La Union, the LGU explicitly says that motorcycles, along with tricycles and bicycles are prohibited from using the inner lane, which they claim as stipulated in RA 4136.

The Province of Bataan has also enacted an ordinance banning motorcycles from using the inner lane of the Roman Superhighway.

Strong opposition from motorcycle groups

These ordinances were enacted with the best intentions by local government units, as they try to improve traffic in the highways within their jurisdictions by penalizing vehicles who impede its flow. However, they are without a doubt prone to abuse by some enterprising law enforcement officers and put the motorcycle rider's safety in jeopardy. We've already talked about the dangers of the motorcycle lane, particularly those placed in the rightmost lane in some cities here. Forcing motorcyclists into one lane deprives them of their ability to maneuver around possible dangers on the road ahead, which can be found mostly on the rightmost lane of provincial roads. Examples are open manholes, electric posts that were not yet relocated after a road-widening, and most commonly, parked vehicles and even animals.

New ordinance: motorcycles stay on the right (slow) lane only imageSection 35 of RA 4136 specifies speed limits along public roads

Jobert Bolanos, current chairman for motorcycle advocacy group, Motorcycle Rights Organization, has argued that there is no stipulation in the Republic Act 4136 that requires 2-wheeled motorcycles to stay in the rightmost lane of any highway. In fact, according to Bolanos, motorcycles have the same speed limits as cars as per RA 4136 – meaning where cars can go, so can motorcycles.

“Given, there are slow-moving motorcycles along highways in the provinces, but, it doesn't mean that ALL motorcycles or motorcycle riders would do the same and should be penalized,” said Bolanos in Filipino.