Symmetrical three-wheelers get green light for highways

Transportation secretary, Arthur Tugade, recently signed a department order that will legally allow entry of symmetrical 3-wheeled motorcycles inside Limited-Access Facilities, more popularly known to riders as “expressways”.

Bear in mind that these three-wheelers are not to be confused with conventional motorcycles with sidecars (tricycles).

A copy of the Department of Transportation’s (DOTr) Department Order (DO) 2021-006 was provided to by our friends from Harley-Davidson Cebu, which says tricycles with an engine displacement of at least 600cc and does not have a sidecar attached, will be allowed entry to all expressways around the country.

Tricycles now allowed inside expressways image

The DO 2021-006 stated that since the signing of the DO 2007-38 (the basis of the sub 400cc ban) 14 years ago, advancements in motorcycle design, technology and safety features now call for the government to step up and allow such 3-wheelers to use these limited-access facilities.

In the new DO, section 1 states that “Motorcycles with three (3) wheels, WITHOUT a sidecar, with an engine displacement of at least 600 cubic centimeters (600cc) shall likewise be allowed to operate within Limited Access Facilities, subject to the same terms and conditions as provided under DO 2007-38.”

What does it mean?

In a nutshell, a 3-wheeled motorcycle must be at least 600cc and does not have a sidecar installed, will be allowed entry inside the expressways. These motorcycles must be originally built with three-wheels in a symmetrical arrangement and with large engines. Common examples include the Yamaha Niken, President Duterte’s Can Am Ryker, and Harley-Davidson’s Tri Glide motorcycles.

Also, custom-made “trikes” that were popular during the 80s will now be allowed entry to expressways. These custom-made trikes are usually powered by a car engine, like those from old VW Beetles or Toyota Corolla.

Tricycles now allowed inside expressways image900cc Can Am Ryker


Unfortunately, motorcycles fitted with a sidecar, like the Ural, even with an engine displacement of more than 700cc, are not covered by the new DO.

This also means that smaller displacement symmetrical three-wheeler motorcycles like the Bajaj RE, Piaggio Ape, Piaggio MP3, and Yamaha Tricity fall short of the displacement requirement, and thus are not allowed.

Does the President have a hand on this?

We all know that President Rodrigo Duterte is an avid motorcycle rider all his life, but age and work are taking their toll on him. In fact, back in 2019, the President did a couple of laps on board his motorcycle inside Palace grounds to unwind. Unfortunately, he had an accident while rolling to a stop and suffered a minor injury.

A few months later, he was seen trying out the 3-wheeled Can Am Ryker to satisfy his thirst for riding motorcycles, without the risk of falling.

While we can’t confirm if the President has a hand on this, some sources close to the President were saying yes but did not elaborate further on what transpired behind the scenes.

Whatever it was, this is a good development for all motorcycle riders, who just want to enjoy traveling within the limited access expressways where no PUVs, pedestrians, or jay-walkers are present. Perhaps the the DOTr can look into allowing models like the Ural or lifting of sub 400 cc rule in the future?