Has the exclusive Commonwealth Motorcycle Lane already failed?

We’ve previously written about how we think the proverbial “kamote” may doom the Motorcycle Lane along Commonwealth to fail. As with our last opinion, don’t get us wrong. A lot of reasons add to this likely outcome; from uneven roads, strangely appointed and painted lanes, the lack of enforcer presence, the dwindling news of apprehensions and actual fines being meted out, it all adds to the ignorance and/or willful neglect of the law.

What we see here may very well be proof of failure, and what we hope is a wake-up call to the authorities. If they truly believe and stand by its implementation, then perhaps more can be called to action to make it work.

Kamotes of all shapes and sizes clog motorcycle lanes, but where are those enforcing the law?

Commonwealth Motorcycle Lane Failure Inline 01 Min

In our last article, we’ve already enumerated what we say could be additional factors in the doom of the Motorcycle Lane. That said, we won’t delve into those anymore. Instead, we will let these photos speak for themselves, and we’ll be pondering on possible lapses and solutions that could still make this sound idea work.

First, this was to benefit the motorcycles plying along Commonwealth. As we can all see, there is absolutely no order to be found. Buses, PUJs, they’re all encroaching into the Motorcycle lane. Where will the motorcycles go? We can see that in the photo above as well. Having been jockeyed out of their lane, they now have to move farther to the left into lanes meant for private motor vehicles. What this photo can’t show is how these PUVs would suddenly swerve making motorcyclists swerve to avoid getting hit. The end result is those in the private vehicles also have to swerve, and those in the next lane, too. So on, and so forth. You get the picture.

Commonwealth Motorcycle Lane Failure Inline 02 Min

In case we’ve forgotten, the original plan was for the rightmost lane to be for bicycles, the lane to its left for PUVs, and the lane next to that to be the exclusive Motorcycle Lane. Heck, all these 3 rightmost lanes are supposed to be exclusive. Reality check, that is not happening. To give credit where credit is due, law enforcers and all the deputized agents were very steadfast in their education and apprehension of 2-wheelers straying from the Motorcycle Lane. I live in the area, and if there’s one thing I should put in here, it’s the fact that I never saw PUVs being accosted for moving out of their lanes.

Fast forward to today, and the number of enforcers has dwindled to a few, if not closer to none. I would drive along Commonwealth anywhere from three to four times a day, at least, in both directions and at different times, so I’m sure that those in this area would also concur with this observation. The lawlessness is brought about by the lack of proper enforcement on the ground, and the absence of enforcer presence. That much we can also say is true.

Commonwealth Motorcycle Lane Failure Inline 03 Min

So alright, then. It’s a lack of enforcers on the ground that makes motorists brazen enough to ignore the exclusivity of the Motorcycle Lane and those meant for PUVs and bicycles as well. This statement deals with our aforementioned look at the possible lapses as to why the Motorcycle Lane is failing. Now, for the “solution” part.

We can only suggest based on our observations, and that is to have more enforcers. Strict and fair ones, at that. We understand that perhaps the MMDA alone may be understaffed, but there are also other agencies, offices, and government departments that we can look to for help such as the LTO, HPG, and LGUs. It is always easier said than done, we recognize this, but if this plan is going to succeed well into the future, something must simply be done.

Next, we move to the fines and penalties. As it stands, only a monetary fine exists for those violating the laws surrounding the Motorcycle Lane. Perhaps a larger fine should be imposed. And how do we justify that? With proper and continuous dissemination of information. News whether online or on broadcasting networks, radios, social media, there are so many ways with which to educate the public and motorists. Make sure that reminders are always given, and that proper information is given. Ignorance of the law is not an excuse, and if the government finds and makes ways to remind everyone of the law, then the motorist should violate it at his or her own risk. Make motorists accountable!

If anyone has anything more to suggest, then do sound off in the comments section of this article and in our social media posts. We don’t profess to know it all, and we do recognize that those on the ground are already doing everything that they can, to the best of their abilities. For that, they will always have our gratitude and thanks! But we all have to admit that more, much more, can and should be done.

The Motorcycle Lane is a sound idea. If all the issues from the smallest to the biggest are properly addressed, then it should work. If we’re to break out from it being “just for motorcycles” and realize that lanes meant for specific types of vehicles are properly enforced and are effective in other countries, then perhaps we can aim for the same here along Commonwealth, and the rest of the Philippines. That is the grander scale after all, right?

Godspeed to our enforcers, light, knowledge, and wisdom to our lawmakers and government officials dealing with traffic, and to those who continue to ignore and disobey the rules and the laws, may your actions not lead to a greater cost.

Mikko Juangco
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