SO… My jaguar got hit by a young boy on a speeding motorcycle last week. I don’t know, but my guards seem to be on a bad luck roll lately. However, I’m not rambling about my guards this week. Actually, it’s been on my mind for a while now to write about the current motorcycle situation in our city. Although I’m sure that this is a nationwide, if not Asean-wide, phenomenon. The sheer volume of two-wheeled vehicles on our streets and highways is stressing me out. Okay, maybe not the volume. The sheer stupidity of people driving these vehicles is stressing me out. That’s what it is.
For those of you who drive cars, or at the very least ride them, you would have to be totally oblivious not to notice how these pseudo Evel Knievels maneuver. To say the least, I’m sure we all have seen vehicular accidents involving motorcycles at one time or another. I’ve been trying to see this whole thing from a bigger-picture perspective but I’m still a bit confused. It’s understandable that those who sell these contraptions are out to make a buck. So, yes, they will sell to anyone who has the cash to pay. It is business, after all. It’s understandable that those who at the moment do not have the capacity to buy a car or similar vehicle would want to acquire a vehicle of their own since it would afford some level of convenience to be freed from the constraints of public transport. It’s understandable that one must secure a driver’s license from the Land Transportation Office to operate these said two-wheelers on public roads. I understand all that.
The part I don’t understand is the attitude that many so-called mature and so-called responsible individuals have towards owning and operating said two-wheeler. What I’m talking about is buying one’s kid a motorcycle so that one is relieved of the hassle of driving the kid to school or wherever, even if the kid isn’t old enough to drive said two-wheeler. What I’m talking about is not making sure the said two-wheeler is properly registered also at the Land Transportation Office, so that it can legally be ridden on public streets and roadways. What I’m talking about is not making sure the operator has a valid driver’s license to operate said two-wheeler. What I’m talking about is not making sure that the operator of said two-wheeler knows and obeys all the proper road and traffic rules that cover operating said two-wheeler. What I’m talking about is not making sure that the operator has a modicum of road sensibility when operating said two-wheeler.
The reason why I’m disturbed by all this is because when my jaguar (who was riding his people-powered two-wheeled bicycle on the way to work) got hit by a speeding motorsicklist, this is what the circumstances revealed. The kid driving the said two-wheeler had an expired learner’s permit. Now, as per my understanding, a learner with a permit must be accompanied by a duly-licensed operator when operating said two-wheeler. He was not. The said two-wheeler (any said two-wheeler, for that matter) must be currently registered with valid REAL plates for it to be legally operated on public roadways. It was not. Any person operating said two-wheeler must be wearing a duly approved protective helmet while riding around. He was not.
When the boy’s male parent came to rescue his son from the sticky wicket situation, there was a traffic officer present at the scene. According to rules and regulations, any vehicle found to be operating without the proper registration is subject to being impounded by the city traffic division. I believe the same penalty goes for having it operated by an unlicensed operator. So in this case, the offense was a two-for-two. And yet the allegedly responsible and allegedly mature parent threw a hissy fit when he was told that the said two-wheeler was to be impounded, and was advised to talk to the injured party. Here’s where I REALLY got confused. What would the injured party have to do with whether the said two-wheeler would be confiscated or not?
Anyway, I suppose all parties concerned worked everything out because I haven’t heard a thing about what happened after the injured were carted off to the City Hospital by ambulance. Except that my jaguar reported for duty two days later with a few minor cuts and bruises. Oh, and was cleared of any brain injuries resulting from the accident. By the way, the kid driver had an “angkas” who got violently thrown from the said two-wheeler upon impact and had to be carted off to the hospital too. I don’t know if he plans to sue his friend for injuries.
Change scene to every day on our roads and highways. These drivers of said two-wheelers can be commonly seen weaving in and out and through traffic at demonic speeds, apparently under the delusion that they are indestructible. Otherwise, they can be commonly seen huddled together in a bunch under some shade, unable to proceed because there is an LTO checkpoint up ahead, and these idiots obviously know that they can be cited for one if not numerous violations. Which brings to light a very stupid rule. Evidently, LTO cannot arrest, flag down, or cite these guys if the vehicle is not in motion. So a parked said two-wheeler cannot be cited for traffic violations because it’s standing still at the side of the road. Sadly, these guys have just enough brain cells to tell themselves to park at the side of the road if they see a checkpoint up ahead. Therefore, they manage to break the law, but can’t be caught.
Worse is when I see an entire family loaded up on said two-wheeler which is designed only to have a capacity of two. I guess one for each wheel? Babies squished between two adults who seem to be under the delusion that such a position ensures the safety of the poor hapless infant should an accident occur. Which makes me wonder how in the world those Skylab or habal-habal type said two-wheelers manage to get properly registered. We truly are a nation of… of… I wish I had the words.
I sometimes wish I could be cruel enough to suddenly open my car door when a said two-wheeler rapidly approaches, just to teach these guys a lesson. With my luck lately, I would endanger the one rider who actually does follow all the rules.