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Hold That Virus Barrier for Backrides, Motorcycle Makers Say

There are safety concerns.
by Aris Ilagan
Jul 22, 2020
Photo/s: Aris Ilagan

The Motorcycle Development Program Participants Association (MDPPA) has finally come out in the open to oppose the controversial rider’s barrier policy set to be implemented by the National Task Force (NTF) against COVID-19 on July 26.

The MDPPA, comprised of Honda, Yamaha, Suzuki, and Kawasaki, zeroed in on the safety issues present in the approved designs, particularly the prototype version presented by Bohol Governor Arthur Yap.

Yap’s version uses a clear acrylic plastic barrier held by a steel frame attached to the passenger footpegs, either through welding or with the use of bolts and nuts.

Here are the safety concerns raised by the MDPPA:

1) The aerodynamics of the motorbike is vital.

Any additional fixture on the motorbike will affect its handling and stability. The proposed backriding shield will affect wind resistance when the motorcycle is in motion. The shield makes it easier for crosswinds to alter the bike’s balance, making riders prone to accidents even at low speeds.

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2) It would be difficult for the rider to bail out.

Motorcycle instructors advise riders to break free from the motorbike in the event of a crash to avoid being crushed by the heavy machine.

3) It cuts like a knife.

The MDPPA also expressed fears that the steel frame of the shield might break loose from the footpegs or chassis, potentially causing injury to the rider and passenger.

4) There are existing safety regulations.

The MDPPA reminded authorities that even the Land Transportation Office does not allow any modifications to motorcycles.

5) Is there scientific proof the shield works?

The group cited the absence of thorough scientific research that proves the improvised shield will protect the rider and the passenger from virus transmission.

6) It invalidates the warranty agreement.

We’ve heard the other five arguments raised by the MDPPA from other stakeholders, but not this one: The manufacturers reminded motorcycle owners that by attaching an improvised shield to their unit, they will breach the warrant agreement that is normally valid for three years after the bike’s purchase.

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With these arguments, does it mean the MDPPA is endorsing the backriding shield design pitched by Angkas? Nope. Instead, the group insist that the proper use of at least a half-face helmet with a closed-face shield, together with a face mask or balaclava, is “already an excellent measure in preventing infection.” Agree or disagree?

This story originally appeared on Top Bikes Philippines.

Minor edits have been made by editors.

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