April 22, 2017

A Guide to Motorcycle Laws in the Philippines

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  • Motorcycles have become the most convenient form of personal transport for a lot of people living in the Philippines. It doesn’t matter if you’re an expat or a local: going through traffic is made a lot easier if you have a vehicle with as small of a footprint as a motorcycle.

    Questions about which laws apply to motorcycles, though, have always lingered on the back of everyone’s mind. The Land Transportation Authority (LTO) has come out with a set of rules and regulations for motorcycle use on highways, which many people seem to miss.

    These rules can be found under LTO Administrative Order No. AHS-2008-013. It’s a long read, but here are the most important things you can take away from it:

    1. All motorcycles and scooters being used on ANY HIGHWAY in the Philippines should be registered with the LTO in accordance with Republic Act (R.A.) No. 4136, or the Land Transportation and Traffic Code.
    2. If you own a motorcycle and use it, your license plate should be visible and clean so your ride can be identified by everyone.
    3. Motorcycles follow the same speed limits as cars. In case you’ve forgotten, that’s:
      • 80 kph on open country roads with no blind corners
      • 40 kph on “through streets” or roads clear of traffic and without blind corners
      • 30 kph if there’s light traffic and it’s not a through street
      • 20 kph everywhere else
    4. Passengers, often referred to as back riders, are limited to one. Cargo, on the other hand, is limited to saddlebags or luggage carriers approved by the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI).

    1. Both driver and passenger must wear a DTI-approved (i.e. with an ICC sticker) helmet when riding a motorcycle as per R.A. 10054 or the Motorcycle Helmet Act of 2009.
    2. For accessories, all motorcycles should have headlights, tail lights, signal lights, brake lights, side mirrors, and a horn. The LTO also allows a maximum of two supplementary white or selective yellow LED/high-intensity discharge (HID) lamps with six bulbs each, directed downward and never towards the left side, and should let you see 10 meters ahead.
      • Any other accessories have to be approved by the LTO and the DTI.
    3. DUI is still illegal for motorcycle riders, along with using a mobile phone or similar gadgets.

    LANE SPLITTING. It’s legal in New South Wales and other parts of Australia, as well as the UK. But not here. 

    1. Lane splitting is prohibited as per this rule.
      • Lane splitting, or lane filtering, is the act of driving in between slow-moving vehicles.
    2. Shoes are the only kind of footwear allowed when riding a motorcycle. This means no slippers, sandals, flip-flops, or even bare feet. Then again, who would want to ride their motorcycle with bare feet?

    TAKEN BEFORE THE LAW. This was taken in 2008, or before the enactment of the Motorcycle Helmet Act of 2009 and R.A. 10666 or the Children’s Safety on Motorcycles Act of 2015.

    1. According to R.A. 10666 or the Children’s Safety on Motorcycles Act of 2015, children are not allowed to ride a motorcycle on public roads with either heavy traffic volume, has a lot of fast-moving vehicles, or where speeds more than 60 kph are allowed unless:
      • The child can comfortably rest his/her feet on the foot peg,
      • The child’s arms can reach around and grasp the waist of the driver,
      • The child has a helmet, or
      • The child is in dire need of medical attention

    As you can see, apart from the obvious and the unique (i.e. no lane splitting and shoes only, please), motorcycles are pretty much treated like cars in the Philippines. This means you have to follow whatever road rules and regulations the LTO has for cars. For a list of fines, visit dotr.gov.ph.

    Got any concerns about the country’s motorcycle rules and regulations? Hit us up in the comments section below. Hopefully, we can pass that on to the LTO. For complete information on the country’s motorcycle laws, including those on customization and the implementing rules and regulations of the pertinent laws, please visit dotr.gov.ph or send them a message on Facebook (@DOTrPH).

    Images grabbed from Paul Lewin on flickr, trevorkloeden.wordpress.com
    Source: Motorcycle Development Program Participants Association, Inc., Philippine Daily Inquirer, Official Gazette, The LAWPHiL Project

    Recent Comments

    What’s the minimum size on side mirror?

    2 weeks ago

    Canopy is also not allowed. This refers to the cheat ones that blows away against strong winds, i guess. I saw a japanese manufacturer that makes canopy for yamaha tri city and nmax which is top quality. Is this allowed? How do we get a permit if ever?

    4 months ago

    I live in Manila and drive on the major roads every day. As far as I can tell nothing seems to be enforced. Many bikes are on the road with no lights, multicoloured lights, multiple passengers, no mirrors or mirrors tucked in and many riders have no crash helmets and flip flops (Slippers) on. Some even have the crash helmet resting on top of their head because they are smoking. The only thing that I have noticed recently is police randomly setting up checkpoints and pulling over riders to see if they own the bike or are offering a paid ride service (Harbel harbel?)
    I have even fitted a dash cam because so many riders veer all over the road at low speed oblivious to anything behind them. I’m scared one will veer out in front of me as I overtake them and I’ll hit them.

    4 months ago

    Sir ask lng po.. pano pag bumili ako ng motor tapos gagawin ko syang cafe racer style.. ano po ang mga kailangan kung gawin para maging street legal ang pag modified ko?

    4 months ago

    Mga b0b0 naman yang nasa LTO. Kung ano anong batas ang pauso. Kumpara mo sa batas ng ibang bansa, parang mga tanga lang gumawa ng batas dito. Taenang speed limit yan, mas mabilis pa bike ko jan eh. Pagbawal nyo nalang kaya lahat ng may makina. Haha! Pati lane splitting bawal. Muntimang lang eh.

    5 months ago

    Wjat will be the possible charges and penalties, if a minor got into an accident while driving a borrowed motocycle?

    5 months ago

    What if my motorcycle is for registration (newly bought vehicle)? Can I still bring it around qc areas? I have my permit to carry receipt, license, and I am wearing full gear. TIA

    8 months ago

    Lane splitting under defined speed limits is legal in many countries, including the USA. I see it done here in the Philippines all the time.
    The other reason for lane splitting is it cuts down on traffic congestion, motorcycles can move to the front of the cue at stop lights, they can get around slow moving vehicles, they can split lanes in traffic congestion and so on.
    I do not own a car here in the Philippines because of the huge traffic problems in every major city. Instead I ride my scooter or big bike and split lanes when I can. It cuts down on my time, my misery sitting in stalled traffic and makes my ride far better.
    The law needs to be changed to allow lane splitting.
    I have never seen a motorcycle in the provinces pulled over for flip flops, multiple riders, even lack of helmets. The way laws are enforced in the Philippines is not consistent.

    8 months ago

    I do agree with the other reviewers that you’re not doing anyone any good at all to recite the Philippine law unless you contrast it with the common practices. I see infants riding on gas tanks all the time. Ok, in my opinion the parent should be whipped, but none-the-less, its a common practice. The article would be much better if it contrasted common occurrences and outlined the real danger.

    9 months ago

    Lacking information and didnt even include motorcycle customization…

    10 months ago

    Who is liable if the minor drive the motorcycle and unfotunately it commits accident?

    12 months ago

    I want to change my motorcycle decals, what is allowed?

    one year ago

    People ride with flip flops all the time. Many people ride 3 on a bike. Lane splitting is common. All the time in fact. This article is how it should be. Not how it really is.

    one year ago
    What do you think about this article?
    ★★ ★★★ ★★★★ ★★★★★


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