MANILA— Quezon City Vice Mayor Josefina “Joy” Belmonte said she is pushing for the passage of a proposed ordinance that would impose speed limits on tricycles and motorcycles, as well as stricter implementation of the “no helmet, no travel” policy, and other road safety measures aimed at reducing accidents in the streets.
“Once it is passed, we will be the first local government to have this ordinance,” Belmonte said in a recent interview with the Philippine News Agency (PNA).
The Quezon City Council’s Committee on Transportation has been consulting tricycle drivers and motorcycle riders on Proposed Ordinance 20CC-251 on the Road Safety Code, with the next round of consultation scheduled on August 17-18.
The vice mayor explained that the ordinance seeks to eliminate, or at least reduce significantly the number of road accidents occurring in the city, which had one of the highest number of road crashes and road crash fatalities and injuries in Metro Manila in the past seven years.
Belmonte said the city has recorded more than 33,000 road crashes and 116 road deaths last year, more than any other local government in the country.
“We think that it is high time we do something about this”, she said. “I was very disturbed, because I felt that… we can actually control the situation. We realized that as a government, there are things that we can regulate.”
For instance, she said, the government could maintain the roads, regulate the vehicles, and ensure that motorists are not speeding or driving under the influence of illegal substances or alcohol.
The Road Safety Code was formulated in partnership with Imagine Law, a civil society law organization that advocates for stronger road safety legislation, both at the local and national levels.
The ordinance features provisions on road safety management, road improvement and maintenance, and minimum vehicle standards. It creates a mechanism that would enable citizens to report road hazards to the city government.
With vehicular speed identified as one of the most common causes of road deaths for pedestrians, the measure imposes stricter speed limits along roads shared with pedestrians, especially children, and cyclists. It also imposes a “no helmet, no travel” policy, given that more than 35 percent of road deaths in Metro Manila involve motorcycles.
The ordinance likewise imposes the mandatory use of child safety seats and enables authorities to conduct random sobriety checks to ensure that anti-drunk/drugged driving measures are followed. It further requires the use of body cameras in sobriety checks and the use of speed guns with cameras for speed limit enforcement.
The ordinance also mandates the designation of pedestrian lanes in areas with a high volume of pedestrians, such as school zones, as well as 10 km. of bicycle lanes every year for the next five years.
“Between life and death, it could just be wearing a helmet, it could just be setting speed limits, it could just be preventing drunk-driving, or it could just be having pedestrian lanes that would spell the difference,” Belmonte said.