Eyebrows raised over MMDA’s reminders for cyclists to wear safety gears, reflectorized vest, sash

June 14, 2022 - 7:14 PM
Kids stroll on a bike at Marikina Riverbanks on July 11, 2021. (The STAR/Michael Varcas)

The Metropolitan Manila Development Authority earned the ire of some cyclists over its recent road accident prevention advisories.

MMDA on June 14 advised cyclists to wear reflectorized vest and other bright-colored clothing to supposedly help prevent accidents.

The government agency released this preventive measure on Facebook and Twitter.

“Para mas madaling makita ng iba pang siklista at motorista, mahalaga ang pagsusuot ng matingkad na damit, reflectorized vest, o reflectorized sash,” MMDA said.

“Sa pamamagitan ng pagsusuot nito, maiiwasan din ang mga posibleng aksidente sa daan,” it tweeted.

Some Filipinos welcomed MMDA’s clothing recommendation.

“Tama yan-saka blinking lights na hindi masakit sa mata, refletorized stickers saka safety pads at helmets,” one user said.

Cyclists and some concerned Filipinos, however, perceived that this passes the blame for road accidents solely to the bikers again instead of making roads better for all.

“Bakit laging sa siklista ang onus? Kahit pa magsuot ng body armor yan, kapag sinagasaan ng SUV, patay pa rin. Wala sa siklista ang problema. Kaya di masolusyonan dahil yung talagang problema, di nyo inaayos,” one Twitter user said.

“Bat yung vulnerable pa kailangan magadjust?” another user tweeted.

Others shared their experiences of getting hit by vehicles despite already wearing bright safety vests and other clothing.

“Daming beses na ko na muntik ka right hook o masideswipe kahit may ganito na akong sinusuot. If you’re in a vehicle, you have greater responsibility not to kill more vulnerable road users,” one user said.

“As someone who wears a high-viz vest/raincoat and rides a high-viz bike regularly, I have experienced firsthand how these are no match for car/SUV/truck/bus/jeep/motorcycle drivers who have absolutely little to no respect for cyclists like me,” another user said.

Aside from MMDA’s reminder for cyclists to wear reflectorized vest or sash, they also advised them to wear safety gears which include helmet, vests, cycling shoes and smart watch.

While some agree that helmet is a protective gear, they once again raised the need for the traffic authority to call out drivers who uses bike lanes.

“How about tell drivers to stay out of bike lanes? Tell them to slow down. Tell them to not drive drunk. Di niyo kaya ano? And wtf is that infograph? A smart watch??? A jersey? Tell me you don’t know how bike commuting works without telling me,” a mobility advocate tweeted.

“For the record: helmets don’t effectively protect cyclists. The most likely accidents involve getting hit or sideswiped by a car. Insisting on requiring helmets is like insisting a band aid is good enough for a gaping wound,” the advocate said.

“I am not anti-helmet. I just think we should stop harping on it being a necessity because this leads to counterproductive helmet laws,” she added.

Bike accident

Some online users recalled the tragic deaths of two young cyclists who were mowed down by a van in Pasay City last March.

“MMDA, naalala niyo si Jolo at Echo? yung nasagasaan ng hi-ace habang nagpapahinga sa tabi ng kalye? Anong maitutulong ng hi-viz para sa kanila?” one user said.

The two bikers were just resting at a spot within the area when a van suddenly made a U-turn and killed both of them.

One of the victims died on the spot. The other victim was rushed to the hospital and then later died.

Based on a police report, the suspect was an 18-year-old driver who was intoxicated while driving. He also does not have his license with him.

The incident triggered a widespread call to motorists to be responsible drivers.

They were also reminded to be more cautious when driving near or along bike lanes.

READ: ‘Don’t drink and drive’: Motorists reminded after tragic death of two young cyclists

In a previous post, the MMDA said that it recorded 2,397 bicycle-related accidents in the National Capital Region in 2021.