The MMDA’s quest to eliminate obstructions caused by motorcyclists waiting under bridges and flyovers during a downpour continues. Previously, it was stated that an accompanying fine of PHP 500 will be meted out to those who block the flow of traffic by engaging in this “usual” practice. Agency Chief Atty. Don Artes has clarified and amended his statement, though, that the fine is not PHP 500. Under the Single Ticketing System, it is actually PHP 1,000, and being apprehended and fined for this “method of obstruction” begins on August 1.
Rider safety and continuous flow of traffic are what MMDA is looking out for
It’s long been a practice of motorcyclists to find shelter during a downpour; unfortunately, the first available spot is usually underneath a bridge, overpass, or flyover. Let’s take note that those who may stop momentarily to put on raingear and go about their merry way are not exactly in the wrong. Okay, it’s still dangerous, but the MMDA did say that that is not what they are prohibiting per se. They’re pretty lax with that.
It’s when motorcyclists all gather and huddle, taking up one or even more lanes and impeding the flow of traffic, that constitutes an Obstruction violation. As such, beginning on August 1, 2023, the agency and its deputized enforcers will be stricter and will apprehend and fine those found doing so and fine them a hefty PHP 1K while they’re at it.
Alternative places where motorcyclists can seek shelter are underneath designated layby areas along EDSA. Granted, there aren’t enough along the entire stretch, and that’s just for EDSA; how about those along other roads and streets, then?
The MMDA has apparently been in constant talks with roadside establishments, particularly gas stations, and is asking them to take part in a collaborative effort to put up tents to serve as shelter for rained-on motorcyclists. Artes said that the said establishments are open and willing to help, and they are just waiting for definitive proposals from the Metro Manila Development Authority.
“Anti-Poor” is an expression that’s been used a lot in describing this apprehension and fining “plan” of the MMDA. But this law against Obstruction has been in place for a long – a very long – time now, and ignorance of it or the tolerance of what is truly an illegal practice cannot, will not, and should not exempt anyone from its enforcement.
The only things we hope for now are just and equal enforcement, and a speedy resolution to getting help from roadside establishments so motorcyclists get more effective alternatives in the event of a sudden downpour.