Social media weigh in on talks about regulation of e-vehicles

June 13, 2022 - 5:09 PM
Some Filipinos operating e-vehicles uploaded on September 26, 2020 (The STAR / Michael Varcas, file)

Calls for safer roads for active transport users were launched following talks on regulating electronic vehicles or e-vehicles.

The Metro Manila Development Authority (MMDA) recently discussed this possible regulation with local traffic bureaus of the National Capital Region.

The meeting took place after the MMDA monitored several accidents involving e-bikes and e-scooters since last January.

According to a report, lawyer Victor Nuñez, head of the MMDA Traffic Discipline Office for Enforcement said that they discussed the enforcement of the Land Transportation Office’s Administrative Order 2021-039 for the safety of active transport users.

Under this AO, license and registration with the LTO are required for some types of e-vehicles such as those that run over 50 kilometers per hour.

Some social media users welcomed this development. They aired their concerns about some e-vehicle users who drive in the middle of major roads.

“In the first place, they shouldn’t be on major roads. Exceedingly, in the middle of the road! The idea of having them use the bike lane is a great idea but our roads are not designed for that,” one Facebook user said.

“Instead of requiring them to get license and registration, completely ban them from major to secondary roads for their own safety! They are putting themselves and other motorists’ safety at risk!” another online user said.

Safer roads instead of regulation

Some social media users opposed the registration of e-vehicles. They called on the authorities to build and implement safer roads for active transport users instead.

“This will not help at all. Why not provide safe and protected lanes for active transport instead? Or create some type of ordinance for active transport users to remain inside the bike lane. Regulating small transport is stupid. Napaka-car centric mag-isip,” one online user said.

“What the government should do is provide safe and protected lanes for active transport. If we force them to register like normal cars, then we’d just be discouraging prospective users, instead of promoting active transport,” another online user said.

Others also asked how registering their units would reduce e-vehicle road accidents.

“Does having a license and registering small vehicles counter the risk of accidents? Come on. Enough with the money-generating policies please,” one Facebook user said.

“And how does owning a license to drive e-bike will fix the road accident?” a Reddit user asked.

“Ang purpose ba ng license sa incident na to is para ma-identify nila yung katawan ng naaksidente? Kasi di ko makita pano niya masosolve yung rising number ng accidents,” another user asked.

Units that need registration

According to the AO, only a few types of e-vehicles are allowed to operate without licenses and registrations. However, they are also only allowed to ply within limited roads.

These units are as follows:

  • Personal mobility scooter
  • Electric kick scooters
  • Scooters under categories L1a, L1b, and L2a (according to the administrative order)

E-vehicles are also classified under Republic Act 11697 or the “Electric Vehicle Industry Development Act” which was signed into law last April.

This law was created to encourage and provide guidelines on the use of e-vehicles in light of the fuel price hikes. This also promotes and supports efficient energy for both public and private use.

In Section 9 (b), the following provision reads: 

“…that light electric vehicles which shall be for exclusive private use shall not be required to register with the DOTr (Department of Transportation) and its attached agencies.”