By Jullie Y. Daza
SOONER or later someone has to revisit the law that says motorcycle riders should wear a helmet when they ride. Too many riding-in-tandem crimes have been committed with too many victims killed by masked, helmeted assassins who take advantage of a law to break a more serious law.
We fencesitters are glad that the new chief of the PNP in the National Capital Region, Gen. Guillermo Eleazar, is taking stock of the situation and calling on his colleagues and riders to give their inputs. The statistics on homicides or murders committed by motorcycle-borne killers keep going up, with no one in Congress, except Sen. Dick Gordon, eager to amend the law. If we read the law correctly, helmets are a must for riders to protect them from head injuries, which can be deadly. But if you’re riding in a big city like Metro Manila where traffic crawls at an average of 20-40 kph on EDSA and C-5, what need for speed is there, and if not, why prescribe helmets whose sole purpose seems to be to conceal the rider’s identity?
In Vigan, helmets are not allowed in the city, and for good reason. It’s the people on the street, otherwise known as pedestrians, who need to be protected from speed maniacs hiding behind a solid, heavy mask. Not only are they maniacs, they could be professional shooters pursuing, stalking their prey. If they’re innocent motorcyclists with no deadly agenda for the day, they may put on their helmets once they’re out of a population center, free to vroom-vroom with as much noise and velocity as they want.
Long have the people suspected that riding-in-tandem crimes are the method of choice of drug dealers and rogue cops, whether the motive is revenge, rubout, or vigilantism. Perversely, they may think they’re doing the world a favor by getting rid of some of its scum (while getting paid for it). After all, they have the wear-your-helmet law to bless their mission.
The Gordon-Eleazar, uhm, tandem have talked about using stickers to identify riders, but where to stick the stickers and how effectively they might prevent a crime committed on two wheels and four legs has yet to be researched.