Motorcycle barriers compromise safety, won't protect vs diseases: say mechanical engineers


Posted at Jul 24 2020 05:52 PM

MANILA — Adding motorcycle barriers may compromise the safety of its riders and does not even guarantee protection against the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), a group of mechanical engineers said.

This, as the government inter-agency task force insisted on installing protective dividers for pillion riding on motorcycles.

"Our position is based on the science and engineering of how air interacts with moving bodies, or in the engineering community, we call it fluid dynamics or aerodynamics," the Philippine Society of Mechanical Engineers (PSME) said in a position paper made public Thursday.

With the barrier, the safety of the rider may be at risk as the stability of the vehicle is compromised.

"When the motorcycle is in motion, the barrier will contribute to the change of the designed allowable aerodynamic forces (drag and lift) which will compromise the stability of the motorcycle. This will place the safety of the riders at risk," PSME said.

It also emphasized that installing a barrier may be helpful in arresting the spread of any illness.

"With the barrier attached when the motorcycle is in motion, the front side of the barrier builds up pressure while creating turbulence and suction behind the barrier," PSME said.

"This will not guarantee that the barrier will be effective in protecting both riders from the spread of air particles to each other," it added.

Having the barrier will also increase fuel consumption thus increasing the emission of air pollutants, the group said.

"The attached barrier increases the air resistance of the motorcycle when in motion. This directly affects the economy of the motorcycle resulting to increase in fuel consumption which contributes to the increase in emission and air pollutants which ultimately affects the environment."

The national government earlier allowed couples to travel on the same motorcycle as long as a protective shield in between the rider and the passenger is mounted.

On Friday, the interior department extended the deadline for installing protective dividers for pillion riding on motorcycles to July 31.