The picture shows some of the motorcycle rider-participants together with government officials, representatives from JAMA & SMCTA, and MDPPA officers.
Road safety advocates gathered on 30 May 2012 at the Marriott Hotel Manila for the 13th Federation of Asian Motorcycle Industries (FAMI) Road Safety Seminar hosted by the Motorcycle Development Program Participants Association, Inc. (MDPPA). The presence of motorcycle riders, 2-wheel enthusiasts from the media and officials from concerned government agencies proved that road safety is indeed everyone’s concern.
MDPPA President Alfredo O. Lejano, in his opening remarks, said that road crashes have been and will continue to be one of the greatest health hazards. As such, road safety has been and will continue to be the main advocacy of MDPPA. As the Seminar’s theme “Road Safety: Our Collective Concern” bring about, he acknowledged the importance of both motorcyclists and pedestrians’ social responsibility while on the road. “Road safety is an issue that affects all of us whether we drive, use public transport or walk”. This was affirmed by FAMI Road Safety Task Force Chairman Tony Yeo in his message saying that safety is road’s top concern.
Drivers must at all time, abide by the safety regulations of the road. Pedestrians must, at all times, walk on designated walkways and cross the roads with extreme caution always giving the right of way to motorcyclists approaching. Road crashes are not road accidents. They are preventable.
The Seminar’s Keynote Speaker was Assistant Secretary Dante Lantin of the Department of Transportation and Communication (DOTC). Driving home the message of road safety, “everyone has the right to be home safely”. As we all agree that road safety is everyone’s concern, everyone must also share the responsibility of reducing or stopping road crashes.
The country has progressed; more people now have motor vehicles; the roads that were made years back were not designed to handle so much traffic. While it is every government’s goal to stabilize and reduce the forecast level of road traffic fatalities, the public sector, private enterprises, and civil society must work together toward this common goal.
Asec. Lantin emphasized that safety is one of the major pillars that define our national transportation policy. Under the DOTC CARES (the acronym for Convenient, Affordable, Reliable, Efficient and Safe) Transport Program of the DOTC, safety is a key component in shaping the country’s national transportation policy believing that transportation is not just all about the efficient movement of vehicles but is also about the safe movement of people whether inside or outside of the vehicle. Consistent with and in furtherance of this policy, the Philippines heeded the call of the United Nations declaration of 2011-2020 as the Decade of Action for Road Safety by organizing a series of multi sectoral meetings and workshops to craft a nationalaction plan that would improve road safety in the country and contribute to the global goal of stabilizing and then reducing the growth of fatalities due to road crashes during the decade.
The result is the Philippine Road Safety Action Plan: 2011-2020 which was released last 11 May 2011 in time for the launching of the Decade of Action worldwide. The objective of this Action Plan is to reduce by 50% the rate of growth of fatalities due to road crashes in the country by 2020.
He congratulated the MDPPA, a member of the Global for Road Safety Partnership Philippines (GRSP) of which DOTC is the lead agency, for its active involvement in the promotion of road safety.
DOTC Assistant Secretary delivering his Keynote Speech
Aside from human factors, the condition of the environment also contributes to road crashes. The government is in charge of providing the safest infrastructure; and must ensure that there is adequate maintenance of our infrastructure.
Recognizing the need to adopt additional measures to address the alarming increase in motorcycle-related accidents in Metro Manila, the Metro Manila Development Authority (MMDA) started implementing motorcycle lanes or “Blue Lanes” in November 2011. Blue lanes are currently implemented in Commonwealth Avenue, Macapagal Avenue and Epifanio delos Santos Avenue (EDSA).
Allowing motorcycles to move more freely through traffic by designating lanes for them could help reduce overall congestion, and potentially reduce some types of motorcycle crashes. From its inception, there had been a reduction of fatal accidents involving motorcycles; data, however, show an increase in number of non-fatal injuries. MMDA, through its Director and Officer-in-Charge of Traffic Discipline Office Yves- Randolph Gonzales, guarantees to consider enhancement measures to be able to achieve its goal.
Director Melvin Navarro, Officer-in-Charge of the Department of Highway and Public Works (DPWH) shared the results of the iRAP (International Road Assessment Program) in the Philippines. iRAP assesses roads all over the world and aims to significantly reduce road casualties by improving the safety of road infrastructure. Of the 3,000 km of road network assessed, almost two-thirds (63%) is rated 1, 2 and 3 Stars for vehicle occupants and 80% of the assessed roads is rated 1 or 2 Stars for pedestrians and motorcycles.
Dir. Navarro honestly admitted that motorcycles were not considered in the past designs of our roads. He shared that their future plans for road improvement and expansion now includes infrastructures for motorcycles and ensured that these are properly designed to minimize the likelihood of road crashes and to reduce the severity of those crashes that will occur.
Road crashes can be devastating both to the persons involved and to their families said Motorcycle Rights Organization (MRO) President Jobert Bolaños, Businessman Magtanggol Juane, Jr. and Dr. Afonso Villaroman, Program Director, Treatment and Rehabilitation Center of the Department of Health in their personal testimonies. The three motorcycle enthusiasts were all victims of severe road crashes involving motorcycles.
Their lives were never the same again, especially for Dr. Villaroman who now walks with crutches after his left leg has to be amputated, however, continue to ride their motorcycles and effectively communicate safety messages in their advocacies for safer roads and responsible road users.
The Japan Automotive Manufacturers Association (JAMA) and Singapore Motor Cycle Trade Association (SMCTA) also shared their governments’ initiatives on road safety. Mr. Nobuo Shinada presented Japan’s status of motorcycle accidents and road safety technologies. It is interesting to note that while motorcycle production increases, road crashes maintain a decreasing trend.
This is attributed to Japan’s efficient implementation of laws, achievement of preventive measures and continual introduction of new technologies and designs. No wonder that Japan aims to realize the safest road traffic in the world by 2015, with road fatalities at less than 3,000 persons and reduce casualties to less than 700,000 then.
Mr. Tony Yeo, on the other hand, acquainted the participants with Singapore’s Best Practices on Road Safety. Singapore is the world’s “fine” city because of its numerous fines (and penalties) one has to pay for violations ranging from spitting, littering and jaywalking (light penalties) to violations of heavier penalties, including fines and on-the-spot license suspensions, for drivers who are breaking the law. But this made Singapore one of the model countries as far as road safety is concerned.
It continues to develop sustained programs to increase safety awareness and skills among motorcyclists and pedestrian addressing education, training and public information efforts to maintain highest standards of safety.
As a culminating activity in the observance of the Philippine National Road Safety Month, the Seminar was able to achieve its goals, among these, of bringing together those who are engaged in making the roads safer for all users.