House panel to pass bill prohibiting children from riding motorcycles

THE House Committee on Transportation has created a technical working group to fast track the passage of measures seeking to prohibit children of a certain age from riding motorcycles.

Rep. Roger Mercado (Lone District, Southern Leyte), chairman of the House body, said the technical committee will conduct a thorough study on the proposed measures authored by Reps. Mary Mitzi Cajayon (2nd District, Caloocan City), Lani Mercado-Revilla (2nd District, Cavite) and Romeo Acop (2nd District, Antipolo City).

During the recent public hearing of the House panel on the bills, all three authors were one in opinion that motorcycles, tricycles and other similar modes of transportation are considered unsafe to transport children.

However, Reps. Rodel Batocabe (Party-list, AKO BICOL), George Arnaiz (2nd District, Negros Oriental) and Cajayon debated on the determination of the appropriate age of children not allowed to ride motorcycles but later agreed to let the TWG decide on the matter.

Rep. Gabriel Quisumbing (6th District, Cebu) proposed that a system of granting exemption be included in the bill for those local government units (LGUs) that are located in remote areas where the only mode of transportation available for the public is the motorcycle.

Cajayon, author of House Bill 2185, said the bill proposes to preclude the transporting of children below nine years old on motorcycles and tricycles along highways consistent with the doctrine of parens patriae which is a concept of standing utilized to protect quasi-sovereign interests, such as health, comfort and welfare of the people, when such interests are threatened and state government intervention may be needed.

Mercado-Revilla said House Bill 2445, which she authored, seeks to supplement Republic Act 10054 or the Mandatory Helmet Act enacted on March 23, 2010, mandating all motorcycles riders to wear standard quality helmet while driving.

“This bill is consistent with the policy to provide safety measures to all riders and passengers particularly children passengers seven years old and below aboard motorcycles,” Mercado-Revilla said.

Acop, for his part, filed House Bill 3554, which aims to promote public safety and protection of children from the hazards of the road.

“Riding a motorcycle, whether as a driver or rider requires a balance of body weight and the weight of the bike especially in high-speed driving or weaving in and out of traffic. Children’s physical frailty and their lack of agility that of an adult while co-riding in a motorcycle place them at great risk,” Acop said.

Acop said parents and adults must be compelled against permitting children below nine years of age from taking to the roads on motorcycles as co-riders as they are exposed to a higher risk of being involved in an accident.

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