Traffic > Safety

Why are we allowing tricycles on national roads?

They’re totally unsafe when running alongside cars

A common sight when you’re driving on a provincial road. Stock up on patience, you must. PHOTO BY VERNON B. SARNE

We just came back from a leisurely but admittedly tiring out-of-town drive to La Union, and couldn’t help but once again wonder: Why are slow-moving tricycles allowed to run on national roads? We especially realized this every time we got stuck behind one and had to overtake it, which wasn’t always easy to do if the opposite direction was busy.

Obviously, a tricycle is massively handicapped compared to a four-wheeled passenger car as there is a huge speed differential between them. And this glaring discrepancy in pace causes a lot of problems. For one, it is not uncommon to see a train of vehicles getting bottled up behind a crawling tricycle on a provincial road. Check this out:

Vehicles behind a dawdling tricycle have no choice but to run at 30km/h. Or race past it. PHOTO BY VERNON B. SARNE

This is very inefficient and wastes a lot of time on the part of the delayed vehicles. Multiply this scenario by the dozens of tricycles one is bound to encounter on a long thoroughfare and the lost time becomes significant. Worse, it could lead to accidents as cars weave in and out of lanes just to get past sidecar-pulling motorcycles. And when these unfortunate incidents occur, they’re often fatal—tricycles are simply no match for even a small hatchback when they collide.

We know this isn’t the first time someone is complaining about tricycles on national roads. We also know that there are “humanitarian” arguments being made in their favor. But for safety’s sake, it’s time to ban them along fast routes. It’s neither fun nor safe darting through and around them. Our transport authorities have a responsibility to put a stop to the practice (and we motorists have a responsibility to badger them). Let’s make it happen.

Vernon B. Sarne

Vernon is the founder and editor-in-chief of VISOR. He has been an automotive journalist for 25 years. He became one by serendipity, walking into the office of a small publishing company and applying for a position he had no idea was for a local car magazine. God has watched over him throughout his humble journey. He writes the ‘Spoiler’ column.