Iloilo City, its Traffic, Officials & Motor-Bikers (6)

By D’ Observer 

(The author is a real person who fell in love with Iloilo. He wants to remain anonymous due to some “complications” but still, he raises very valid issues)

Recently, I watched on TV part of an interview with the representatives of two non-government organizations (NGOs) in Manila, which offer training to motor-bikers in handling their motorbikes and applicable traffic rules and regulations. Their findings are quite simple: too many motor-bikers have more or less NO knowledge of their responsibilities towards applicable traffic rules and regulations (but they are not the only ones, it also includes various officials) and, which is more alarming, a lack of knowledge in handling a motor-bike. I was not surprised by these findings at all because of what I see and experience on a daily basis on the roads of Iloilo City.

A motor-biker told me a few weeks ago, when we talked about the traffic situation in Iloilo City, “for a motor-biker, there is NO traffic”. What he also probably tried to say is “for us there are no rules”. Well, that’s the situation car drivers are facing day after day, driving from one place to another within Iloilo City.

The majority of motor-bikers are reckless and dangerous to others and themselves. They have NO respect for anything, overtaking others right, left and center. They can be seen on pavements and harassing pedestrians, for whom the pavements have been built. They drive opposite the traffic flow and cross private property if it is to their advantage. They are just like PUJ and taxi drivers when approaching a pedestrian crossing, blowing the horn and indicating that they will NOT respect the “Pedestrian Protection Act of the RP” and the life of others. Still, too many motor-bikers and their back-riders refuse to wear helmets, especially on weekends and holidays.

I always wonder why some motor-bikers have a camera fitted on their helmets? Aren’t they aware that they document their own reckless and dangerous driving/ traffic violations in many cases?

Now, what is the result of the above traffic behavior in far too many cases? Here are just a few examples I have observed before the end of 2019. While passing Quintin Salas/Jaro my friend and I saw two motorbikes which had collided at the intersection flat on the road, their drivers were maybe in the ambulance which we met earlier as they were nowhere to be seen. The next day a taxi collided with a motorbike in front of Toyota in Jaro. The taxi wanted to pick up a passenger while the motor-biker tried to overtake on the wrong side. A day later a PUJ driver and a motor-biker were arguing near LTO as to who was at fault after they collided, while the motorbike was flat on the road.

Isn’t this just a confirmation of the findings of those representatives from two NGOs in Manila? My impression is that motor bikes are number 1 in accidents and probably also number 1 in fatalities due to traffic accidents. More or less every weekend one could see a funeral procession for a motor-biker.

A question for the authorities: “How many persons are allowed on a motorbike, 1, 2, 3, or even 7?” I have seen all these numbers already in Iloilo City. Lately, on the way to church, I saw five persons on a motorbike again, two infants on the tank in front of the father and a small child between father and mother; none of them wearing a helmet. If the mother would hold one child on either lap we come to seven persons on a motor-bike, I have seen that as well. Is that what we call ‘responsible parenthood?

In the recent few years, the number of motor-bikers has increased dramatically and so will the number of fatalities due to traffic accidents.

Isn’t it about time that the officials show as to who is in charge in Iloilo City whatever traffic is concerned? Just to post signs stating, “Observe traffic rules and road courtesy” is surely not enough to stop this trend, more action by the authorities is required over a lengthy period and not just seasonable. Will the so-called “TDZ” or traffic discipline zones actions bring the long-overdue change?