Ah, EDSA, the five lane stretch of roadway that connects Metro Manila’s major cities and its two primary expressways, has always been the focus of different laws, traffic management schemes, and commuter’s nightmares. With so many types of vehicles plying this thoroughfare, it’s only natural that conflicts and gridlocks arise, all of which hamper the flow of traffic. With the lack of proper implementation of the law and general lack of respect for others on the road, it’s up to us as individuals to be more mindful of other more vulnerable road users - in this case, motorcycle riders.
As a driver and rider myself, I have experienced firsthand how conditions on EDSA have deteriorated, almost to the point of making sure I never pass the road on my motorcycle or car. For a few years, I would ride into Makati using SLEX and Skyway, only to be greeted by gridlock and selfish drivers and motorcyclists. I had to adapt, and a part of me has come to understand that things are the way they are because we let it reach this point.
We’ve come up with some tips on how to share the road with our two-wheeled friends, and how to avoid potential accidents and confrontations.
1. Motorcycles have priority in the Motorcycle Lane
Yes, cars may use the motorcycle lane when needed, but that space is generally reserved for motorcycles. That means that anything that has more than two wheels must give way to motorcycles when changing into this lane. Motorcyclists must also use this lane when traffic is flowing at a good pace, and avoid using other lanes except when overtaking.
2. Keep scanning your mirrors
I’ve noticed time and time again that people generally never check their mirrors in slow moving or stopped traffic. People are either staring at their phones or just completely oblivious. Always make sure you are in the center of your lane, to allow for motorcyclists that may want to filter or overtake your vehicle. If you see a motorcyclist filtering cautiously, try to make some space, as it’ll give the motorcyclist a safe spot to get by. You may even get a thank you. If you can’t make space in traffic, just stay in place, and let the motorcycle figure out a different route.
3. Gridlock tailgating and defending is a no-no
You’ve got nowhere to go and traffic is at a standstill, so there’s absolutely no point in being selfish by closing the gaps on motorcycles. They will be in and out of your lane in seconds, and you’ll still be stuck in traffic. There’s no award for pissing someone else off or being the most inconsiderate person on the road.
4. Use your indicators at all times
Nothing is worse than travelling EDSA at a steady pace when you suddenly have to brake and make way for a vehicle that just decides to switch lanes in front of you, with no regard for speed. It is especially dangerous for motorcyclists as they are more vulnerable to sideswipes and getting rear-ended when braking hard. Always indicate all changes in direction with ample time and with consideration for the speeds of other road users. But that should be common sense, right?
5. Don’t be butthurt
“If I can’t get to work on time, no one can”. That’s the exact notion that gets people into accidents and road rage incidents with other road users. If you feel angry that motorcycles are getting through traffic and reaching their destinations faster than you are, then maybe you need to buy a motorcycle. You are always welcome to join us and sample the challenges of the two-wheeled experience. Maybe it’ll humble you a lot. Chill out and remember that you have air conditioning, a radio, and a plush seat in your car. We just have an engine, the sun, the pollution, and we’re always trying not to get run over.