Wisdom > Passenger

Stop sending me kamote cyclist videos

Sometimes the road to hell is paved with good intentions

Have you ever stopped to analyze why a number of ‘jempoys’ ride bicycles the way they do? PHOTO BY VERNON B. SARNE

I don’t care what “concern” you’re claiming to have. You’re riding a cyclist hate wave that is going to get people killed.

We normalize motorists breaking rules, but we attack cyclists for not following rules because we subconsciously place a higher burden on them.

But why couldn’t they follow rules?

Cycling is so dangerous!

If you’re a cyclist that spends all day—and maybe all night—trying to avoid cars blocking the bike lane, do you think that’s the kind of experience that makes you think the rules respect you?

Enforcers wave cyclists through when the conditions are safe enough. SCREENSHOT FROM EDWARD SANTOS

That’s why you see videos of cyclists crossing red lights (even at intersections where enforcers have a history of waving cyclists through when the coast is clear), but basically never see videos of motorists failing to yield to pedestrians on a crosswalk even if it happens all the time in this country.

Hell, I remember one time—the only time in recent memory—where a driver actually waited for me to finish crossing a pedestrian lane even if the light had turned green. I almost wanted to ask him what country he had learned to drive in.

When our roads look like this, cyclists have to bike in a manner that keeps them safe. SCREENSHOT FROM VIDEO

A lot of people aren’t going to like hearing this, but most drivers in Metro Manila are so unsafe and reckless that they have no business holding a license, and once you bike long enough here, you start to realize that the most important thing is to bike in a manner that keeps you the safest around these people.

A lot of time, that means following traffic rules. But there are times when following traffic rules means putting you closer to motorists who clearly do not follow the most basic rule of driving, which is the consideration for the safety of fellow road users. I’ll do what I need to do. Is it wrong? Well, if you get me on a dashcam video breaking rules, I’ll own up to it and be accountable.

Because of this mob mentality, innocent, law-abiding cyclists get bullied around. PHOTO BY SAM SURLA

Frankly, the pages that insist on uploading these videos are playing a dangerous game. In exchange for content, they’re contributing to an environment that makes cycling even less safe. If everyone feels that cyclists are undisciplined lawbreakers anyway, why would they respect their rights to health and safety?

What’s even worse, a lot of motorists have the mentality that they can punish-pass cyclists (aka “pinahan mo“) to teach them a lesson, since it seems like everyone feels obligated to teach cyclists a thing or two. So many bullies feel entitled to abuse any power they have, as long as it’s enough to lord over someone else.

I want to end this article by pointing to this: You can run someone over with an SUV on camera, flee from the scene, and face basically zero penalties. I have no interest in people telling me what rules I need to follow for my “safety” if I can follow all the rules and be murdered, penalty-free, by someone who has the right connections.

R. Anthony Siy

Robert is a transportation expert. As in he has a degree in Transport Economics. So yes, you can trust his thoughts on public conveyance. He believes that smarter policy and planning can make cities better for motorists and nonmotorists alike. He pens the ‘Passenger’ column.