MANILA –The Senate on Monday passed on third and final reading a bill prohibiting children from riding a motorcycle unless they can comfortably reach the standard foot peg of the vehicle.
With an overwhelming 17-0 vote, the Senate approved Senate Bill No. 2488 or known as the “Prohibition on Children Riding Motorcycles Act of 2015” authored and sponsored by acting minority leader Senator Vicente ‘Tito’ Sotto III.
”The proposal sought to ensure the safety of children when they travel on board a two-wheeled motorcycles along public and private roads,” Sotto said.
Sotto explained that children who ride motorcycles “are exposed to danger, particularly if they cannot reach the foot stool or embrace the adult fully for balance.”
“Because of their tender age, especially infants, children’s reflexes are different from adults and they may not be able to react rightly to some situations which can cause them to fall and suffer injury or even result in death,” he said.
Sotto, however, said bill banning children from riding a motorcycle was not absolute.
He said the restriction would not apply to remote places or provinces where there was no considerable vehicular traffic and where motorcycles were the only means of transportation.
“We have to take into account the plight of majority of our citizens who can only afford motorcycles as their mode of transportation,” Sotto said.
Likewise, he said, prohibition does not depend on the age of the children, instead children who could comfortably plant their feet on the foot peg and whose “arms were long enough to wrap around the physique of the driver” would be exempted from the ban.
He also said the ban would not be applied to emergency cases or in a situation wherein riding a motorcycle was the sole means of reaching a hospital.
In filing the bill, Sotto cited a report from the World Health Organization (WHO) which showed that injuries from vehicular accidents were among the leading causes of death and disability.
According to the WHO study, an estimated 3,500 people worldwide are killed daily due to vehicular accidents, 720 of whom are children.
“Let me emphasize, 720 children die due to vehicular accidents every day,” Sotto said.
In the Philippines, Sotto said the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA)’s reports revealed that motorcycle riders had the highest fatality accident rates among motor vehicles.
He said Department of Health statistics showed there were 14,000 motorcycle-related injuries for the last quarter of 2012 alone.
“Imagine 14,000 motorcycle accidents every three months? Injuries among children aged 0 to 19 had reached 34 percent of the total cases,” Sotto said.
Under the proposed legislation, first time offenders would be fined with an amount not exceeding Php5,000, second time offenders face a Php10,000 fine while third time offenders and succeeding offenses face a Php20,000 penalty.