MANILA, Philippines – Angkas has called on the government to require training for motorcycle riders to help curb the high rate of motorcycle-related deaths in the Philippines.
"It is the responsibility of the government that allows the purchases or the selling of the [motorcycles] to make sure that every single citizen knows how to ride it, institutionally," Angkas chief transport advocate George Royeca said in a press briefing on Tuesday, October 1.
Royeca said as he only knew of one driving school in the Philippines that offers training for motorcycle riders, which is "nowehere near the capacity" needed for the 18 million motorcycles in the country and the growing demand for motorcycles.
He added that a majority of motorcycle riders come from low-income families who got used to the mindset of riding tricycles, where helmets are not needed and drivers can take on multiple passengers at a time.
"Kung gawin po nating tama 'yung sistema natin, marami pong susunod.... Iba 'yung pinanggagalingan nila, and we need to standardize this type of education and awareness [among] all motorcycle drivers," Royeca said.
(If we correct the system, many will follow.... These people come from a different perspective, and we need to standardize this type of education and awareness [among] all motorcycle drivers.)
Royeca claimed that Angkas has proven that motorcycle safety is achievable, noting that its training program for for its riders resulted in a 99.997% safety rate.
"If we can institutionalize this across the country, then we'll have better motorcycle riders. Ang galing nga nila eh, walang turo-turo, natutunan nila paano magbalanse ng dalawang wheels (They're already capable of balancing on two wheels even without training). Imagine if we take time to train them. Imagine what we can accomplish," he said.
According to a 2015 World Health Organization report, 53% of reported road traffic fatalities in the Philippines involve motorcycle riders. Royeca said 90% of the fatalities involved riders not wearing helmets.
He said that the Land Transportation Office, along with nongovernmental organizations, is pushing for training facilities and programs for motorcycle riders amid the growing demand for motorcycles.
One such initiative is Ridelihood, a training program for motorcycle couriers that was launched in August. Royeca said that Angkas bikers also attend Ridelihood seminars in addition to the company's own training program.
"You can't have enough enough training," he said. – Rappler.com
Loreben Tuquero is a researcher-writer for Rappler. Before transferring to Rappler's Research team, she covered transportation, Quezon City, and the Department of the Interior and Local Government as a reporter. She graduated with a communication degree from the Ateneo de Manila University.