Last year, Muntinlupa representative, Rufino “Ruffy” Biazon, encouraged the Toll Regulatory Board (TRB) to look into the current sub-400cc rule on all tollways in the country. The rule limits motorcycle on tollways to only those with 400cc and above displacement. Biazon, an avid motorcycle rider himself says that “the current policy was arbitrary when adopted. It did not give a fair chance for users of lower engine displacements to be considered in the use of the tollways through a policy based on a study on safety and efficiency."
Yesterday, through a report on GMA's 24 Oras, TRB executive director, Abraham Sales, has said they are looking into the possibility of lowering the current minimum displacement of motorcycles that can enter the tollways. The executive director even cited the advances in technology these days, that a smaller engine can also produce power that can be close or match those of older, bigger displacement engines.
“The technology is different these days. Like in cars, for example, engines with smaller displacements can also attain the performance of those with bigger engines,” Sales said in Filipino.
The expressway ban can be traced back as far as the 1960s when a police motorcycle escort for visiting US President, Richard Nixon, figured in a fatal crash in the South Superhighway, now called SLEx. That fateful day triggered the DPWH's predecessor, Department of Public Works and Communications, to issue an administrative order declaring the tollways as “limited access highways” which included the total ban of all types of motorcycles, regardless of displacement on tollways.
After a court battle in 2001 which declared the motorcycle ban on tollways as illegal, DPWH issued Department Order 123, limiting the tollways ban to motorcycles with engine displacements of 400cc and above – the prevalent “big bike” displacement at the time.
Today, opinion is split among motorcyclists. For those who oppose the sub-400cc rule, they claim that the rule has been put with prejudice against lower-displacement riders and has no scientific data to back the issue of safety. Those on the side of change argue that, since the tollways have no crossing pedestrians, animals or PUVs stopping in the middle of the road, it is by far the safest road for a motorcyclist.
Those against the change have argued that wind turbulence from bigger vehicles can cause smaller and lighter motorcycles to lose control, as claimed by the rule's supporters. Besides the wind turbulence claim, the ruling's supporters also say that, majority of smaller-displacement riders (sometimes colloquially called kamote riders) are undisciplined. Allowing them access to the tollways may mean more accidents caused by reckless riding.
Do you favor the lowering or even the total lifting of the sub-400cc rule on tollways?