Honda, Kawasaki, Suzuki, and Yamaha Philippines do not approve of the government's backerider shield requirement. The brands, through their association, the Motorcycle Development Program Participants Association, Inc. (MDPPA), have released an official statement on the new requirement for backriding.
In the statement, they call the backrider shield required by the government for rider-couples dangerous. They say it negatively affects the stability and handling of a motorcycle, making it dangerous for both the rider and pillion (backrider).
“The Motorcycle Development Program Participants Association, Inc. (MDPPA) affirms that all motorcycle models from member brands (Honda, Kawasaki, Suzuki and Yamaha) undergo years of careful planning, design, and development carried out by teams of engineers to ensure the utmost safety of each unit. Any additional fixture, such as the one proposed by Gov. Yap, will negatively affect stability and handling of a motorcycle, thus, inevitably compromising [the] safety of its occupants,” the official statement said.
The manufacturers echoed what motorcycle safety riding experts have already pointed out; that the required backrider shield not only drastically reduces the motorcycle’s aerodynamic efficiency, it also acts as a sail, catching the wind and can easily throw a motorcycle rider off of his or her balance even at low speeds.
Moreover, the manufacturers pointed out that the required barrier could pin the rider or the backrider to his/her seat, preventing them from separating from the motorcycle in the event of a crash, further reducing his/her chances of survival. Finally, the choice of materials used in the approved design poses greater risks to both the rider and pillion, as it may shatter or break, causing serious to fatal injuries, said the MDDPA.
The group has stressed that there is currently no scientific data supporting that the required backride shield can help prevent the spread of the coronavirus. They affirm that the riding gear normally worn by motorcycle riders already doubles as PPE (Personal Protective Equipment).
“As far as COVID-19 infection prevention is concerned, a motorcycle rider’s situation is arguably much better than those sitting inside an enclosed vehicle breathing recirculated air.”