MANILA -- Motorcycle rider Ronald Carlos zips through the crippling Quezon City traffic to and from his work almost everyday, a commute that would take longer if he drives his car or takes the public transport.
There are currently 18 million registered motorcycle units across the country, with 5 million of these actively plying the roads, according to the Land Transportation Office.
Of the total number, 1.8 million motorcycles were sold in 2018 alone, up from the almost 1 million units sold the previous year, the Motorcycle Dealers Association of the Philippines said.
Motorcycles can be deemed as a necessity for workers until the government improves mass transport systems, said association president Edwin Go.
"‘Yung increase is the cause by the need of workers kasi hindi nakapaghanda ang gobyerno sa pag-angat ng ekonomiya," he said.
(The increase is caused by the need of workers because the government failed to prepare for the growth of the economy.)
"Iwas trapik, madaling sumingit [kapag naka-motor]," noted Carlos.
(On board a motorcycle, you can avoid traffic, weave past other cars.)
One can buy a motorcycle for as low as P30,000 after fulfilling very few documentary requirements, said LTO-Metro Manila East director Benjamin Santiago.
"Mas mahal pa ngang bumili ng cellphone," he remarked.
(It's even more expensive to buy a cellphone.)
There were 26,652 motorcycle-related accidents in 2018, up from 22,063 accidents the previous year, according to the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority Traffic Engineering Center.
That's why authorities should deploy more enforcers to ensure riders' compliance to safety regulations, said Maria Fatima Villena, head for the Bloomberg Initiative for Global Road Safety.
"Kapag nakikita kasi ang enforcers sa daan, nami-mitigate ang possibility ng road crashes dahil mas magiging alerto," she said.
(When enforcers are seen on the road, the possibility of road crashes is mitigated because riders are more alert.)