Cycling on the streets of Metro Manila is one of the scariest things to do, not to mention deadly. Just check social media and the news, reports of cyclists being involved in accidents unfortunately happen often and are sometimes even fatal.
In an effort to make cycling safer, Congress recently passed House Bill 8911, officially called “Minimum Overtaking of Cyclists Distance Act”, which mandates a minimum overtaking distance between a motor vehicle and a bicycle and its operator. To be specific, the bill mentions that motor vehicles will have to leave a minimum distance of 1.5 meters when overtaking cyclists on the road.
Violators of the act will be hit with severe penalties: Php 5,000 for the first offense, Php 10,000 for the second, Php 15,000 for the third and a suspension of driver’s license for three months, and a Php 20,000 fine followed by revocation of driver’s license for the fourth offense.
The Metro Manila Development Authority (MMDA), Philippine National Police (PNP), local government units (LGUs) and other concerned government agencies will be responsible for the enforcement of foregoing provisions and shall ‘render assistance’ that may be required by the Department of Transportation-Land Transportation Office (DOTr-LTO).
Principally authored by Rep. Antonio Tinio and Committee on Transportation Chairman Rep. Cesar Sarmiento, the bill hopes to protect cyclists in the nation and bring cycling safety up to par with that of foreign nations, which already has a mandated minimum overtaking distance.
Should this bill be passed into law, it would surely give cyclists on the road more protection from accidents that may occur. The question now is how government agencies would be able to monitor the distance when vehicles overtake cyclists on the road.