In an effort to comply with riding pillion guidelines issued by the national government to stay on the road, motorcycle riders have gone creative in making improvised shields to prevent contracting coronavirus.
The government allowed riding pillion (back-ride) among married couples, same-sex couples, common-law couples, and live-in partners on July 10 provided they live in the same household and there is a protective shield between the rider and the back ride.
Joan Melani Mateo shared on Facebook an improvised shield made of steel and clear acrylic sheet made by her husband Noel Alapar.
Alapar also made the barrier bendable so the seat can be opened to access the gas tank.
“No worries po kasi once na COVID-free na po tayo pwede naman po yan i-detach para bumalik sa dati ang motor (Once we are COVID-19-free, the sheet can easily be removed from the motorcycle),” Alapar wrote.
Another netizen posted an improvised shield made from unused bag straps, shoe rack, and thick plastic covers.
“Flex ko lang yung (Just flexing our) improvised motor shield in compliance [with] government’s requirement. Perks of being in bags [business], be resourceful and use the things you can for unused bags,” Roda Alday wrote, sharing the improvised shield was made by her husband Beche Pateña.
However, some motorists caution against the barrier required of motorcycles with back riders.
“Kung [prototype] ang susundin, madaming maaapektuhan na motor lalo na yung mga motorcycle na nasa ilalim ng upuan ang gas tank (If we’ll follow the prototype, many motorists will be affected, especially motorcycles whose gas tanks are under the seats),” Lean Quindo told Manila Bulletin.
The prototype design, submitted by Bohol Governor Arthur Yap, was approved by the National Task Force (NTF).
Motorcycle Philippines Federation official Atoy Sta. Cruz, in an interview over 24 Oras, said metal barriers could cause more harm in an accident.
“Kasi gumagamit sila nung pinaka-frame nya is made of metal. Ngayon, additional yan baka mamaya magkaroon ng road crash, tumama o tumusok sa katawan nung backride yung frame nung motorsiklo. Yun lang ang worry namin (The frame is made of metal. If there will be a road accident, the motorcycle frame can hit or pierce the body of the back ride. That worries us),”
Motoring experts also said that the shield will affect the aerodynamics of the motorcycle and pose safety risks, especially when the wind is strong.
Interior and Local Government (DILG) Secretary Eduardo Año defended the placing of barriers between driver and passenger in motorcycles amid criticism of it being accident-prone.
“Kahit naman walang shield o walang barrier katakot-takot na yung aksidente ng motor. Nasa driver talaga yan. Baka nga mas lalong mag-ingat yung driver kung may barrier sa likod (Even without a shield or barrier, accidents involving motorcycles are already high. It’s already up to the driver. Perhaps with the barrier, motorcycle riders will be more careful),” Año said.