Unsafe and unnecessary: Motorcycle manufacturers question backrider ‘shield’


Posted at Jul 21 2020 04:46 PM

MANILA -- An industry group composed of the country's biggest motorcycle manufacturers said the “backrider shield” approved by the government is unsafe and unnecessary. 

The government has said it will strictly impose the use of motorcycle shields beginning July 26 to limit virus transmission.

But the Motorcycle Development Program Participants Association (MDPPA) said the proposed separator or shield between a motorcycle rider and backrider, which is meant to prevent the spread of COVID-19, can make the motorcycle unstable and cause an accident.

The MDPPA, which counts Honda, Kawasaki, Suzuki, Yamaha and Kymco among its members, also said a motorcyclist’s protective gear is already enough to prevent infection. 

All motorcycle models undergo years of careful planning, design and development carried out by teams of engineers to ensure the utmost safety of each unit, the MDPPA said in a statement released Monday.

Any additional fixture, such as the one designed by Bohol Gov. Arthur Yap, will negatively affect the stability and handling of a motorcycle, thus, inevitably compromising the safety of its occupants, the group added.

“The proposed pillion shield will create significant wind resistance when the motorcycle is in motion.”

The shield “makes it easier for crosswinds to throw the motorcycle off-balance even when running at low speeds.”

They also warned that the motorcycle shield is a possible violation of the Land Transportation Office’s modification regulations, and will breach the warranty agreement between the motorcycle owner and the manufacturer.

“Finally, there is no scientific data that could support claims that installing a pillion shield will help prevent the spread of COVID-19 from rider to passenger,” the group said. 

“This being the case, the risks outweigh the perceived benefits.”

The MDPPA said that no additional fixtures or modifications should be done on the motorcycle without the approval of the LTO and the manufacturer in the interest of safety. 

The shield is also unnecessary, the MDPPA said, as common safety gear worn by motorcycle riders is already enough to prevent infection.

“It is also the organization’s opinion that the wearing of at least half face helmet with closed face shield, more so together with face mask or balaclava, is already an excellent measure in preventing infection.”

The MDPPA said that as far as COVID-19 infection prevention is concerned, a motorcycle rider’s situation is arguably much better than those sitting inside an enclosed vehicle breathing recirculated air.