If you drive along any of the highways in the last few weeks, you probably have noticed more and more two-wheelers whizzing past you. Have you also ever wondered why only 400cc motorcycles are allowed on expressways?
Motorcycle ownership has increased dramatically since the mid-2000s. Statista reports that from 2001 to 2019, it has risen from around 720,000 to a little over 1.7M. With that, so did the number of motorcycle-related accidents as motorcycles have become the ride of choice among middle-class Filipinos.
In another report by the Metro Manila Development Authority (MMDA) Metro Manila Accident Reporting and Analysis System (MMARAS), an average of 86 motorcycle-related accidents per day have occurred on Metro Manila streets in 2019 alone. Furthermore, a total of 31,279 accidents of varying severity were reported—a 17 percent increase from 2018’s statistics. Out of the 31,279 accidents, 221 fatalities were reported.
Out of the fatalities, the most common to perish due to injuries sustained was the motorcycle driver, with 154 out of the 221 total fatalities. While many of these accidents happened along arterial roads, more and more motorcycles have been traversing major expressways.
Furthermore, tollway authorities are urged not to rely too much on just visual inspection or the mere size of the vehicle. Instead, authorities should look at the exact engine specifications for better implementation of the law.
For motorists, it is crucial to go beyond just the look of the vehicle. While 400cc motorcycles are allowed along expressways, make no mistake, there are motorcycles that may look like big bikes but have an engine displacement of less than 400cc but are still allowed along expressways.
This is not only a violation of the law but a safety hazard for both the riders and drivers of other vehicles as well. After all, just because it looks like a big bike does not mean it belongs on the expressways!
Meanwhile, highway patrolmen were urged to inspect the documents of motorcycles they suspect to be sub-400cc, and LTO officials were advised against intentionally incorrectly declaring the engine displacement in the registration papers of motorcycles being registered.
It is also important for law enforcement officers not to rely solely on documents since there are bikes that look like big bikes but have engine displacements of less than 400cc. Hence, knowing how and where to check in the engine is the best way to know if the vehicle complies with the law or not.
According to Department Order 123 of the Department of Public Works and Highways, only motorcycles with a displacement of 400cc shall be allowed to operate inside tollways and limited access highways. The order was promulgated to ensure the safety of commuters traversing all major expressways in the country and urges the public to be vigilant against violators of the said ban.
Lastly, as a responsible motorcycle owner, it is your obligation to know if the vehicle you have is worthy of expressways. If you are doubtful that the engine displacement of your bike is 400cc, and worse, you don’t know where to look, never hesitate to ask the assistance of the proper authorities.