No slippers for backriders

During this past week, the motorcycle riding community has been divided on the issue of wearing slippers (flip-flops) while riding. This stemmed after an MMDA personnel apprehended a motorcycle rider with a pillion who was wearing slippers.

The MMDA used the Land Transportation Office’s 2008 memo, AHS 2008-15, as the basis for the apprehension. Retired police coronel, Bonifacio Bosita, a motorcycle rights activist, allegedly challenged the apprehension on the spot.

He, in turn, claimed that there was no mention of the rule applying to a pillion or backrider in the said memo. He even went so far as to have the apprehending MMDA traffic enforcer to pay for a day's wages. All this without going through the proper adjudication process.

The incident angered EDSA boss, Col. Edison “Bong” Nebrija, who said that Bosita had taken the law into his hands instead of going through the correct and lawful process. This started the long debate between motorcycle riders on social media over the issue.

No slippers

During last night’s program, Round-Up, which was streamed live on Facebook, former LTO chief, Alberto Suansing, clarified (start at 26:45) that pillion riders, commonly (or backriders), are also required to wear closed-toe footwear. The motorcycle driver could be fined if he or she allows his or her pillion to wear slippers.

Kung dapat naka-sapatos ang nagmamaneho ng motor, dapat ba yung pasahero [pillion] naka sapatos din? (If the motorcycle driver is required to wear closed-toe shoes, is it also the same for his or her pillion?),” asked the host of the radio show. To which, Suansing simply replied, ganun din (Yes, it’s the same).

To give you a background, AHS 2008-15, was authored, and deliberated on with the motorcycle community, and was signed during Alberto Suansing’s tenure as LTO chief back in 2008 or 13 years ago.

The former LTO chief further explained that, the reason why backriders are NOT exempted from the law is because they are considered as “active drivers” of the motorcycle.

Yoong rider, which is yung nagmamaneho ng motorsiklo, at yung pillion rider, yan yung nakasakay sa likod... is also considered operating the motor vehicle [motorcycle].”
(The rider (the one driving the motorcycle), and the pillion rider, (the one riding behind) also considered an operator of the motorcycle.)

The former chief further clarified that unlike driving cars where passengers have completely no input that could affect how the vehicle is driven, motorcycles, on the other hand, could be affected by the pillion’s inputs or movements. When a pillion moves in a direction counter to the driver while on a corner, the motorcycle could lose its balance and crash.

Active [driver] sila eh. Malaki ang pagkakaiba ng, let's say, nagmamaneho ng 4-wheel na sasakyan at saka yang 2-wheel drive na sasakyan. Kasi, ang kinikilos ng pillion rider, ay makaka-apekto sa sasakyan (They are active drivers. There’s a big difference between driving a 4-wheeled car and a 2-wheeled motorcycle. The movements of the pillion could affect how the motorcycle is ridden.).