Thousands of motorcycle riders in the Philippines have been scrambling over to the offices of the Department of Trade and Industry to have DTI personnel paste an ICC sticker on their helmets, which certifies their protective worthiness.
These motorcyclists are obtaining the ICC sticker before the end of this month; otherwise, DTI will charge them P300 for the inspection and sticker. And beginning on the first of January, 2013, if stopped and found not wearing ICC-approved helmets, they will be fined.
According to an Opinion article by Randy David (Philippine Daily Inquirer), “ICC means ‘Import Commodity Clearance.’ It’s a document normally issued by the DTI’s Bureau of Product Standards to manufacturers and importers certifying that their products meet the standard specifications and tests for quality and safety." This gives consumers the confidence to buy electrical appliances, Christmas lights, children’s toys, etc.
Imposed mainly on producers, importers and distributors, this ICC requirement usually spares the consumers any such responsibility. However, Republic Act 10054, or the Motorcycle Helmet Act, signed on March 23, 2010, takes the further step of placing the responsibility for securing an ICC for protective helmets equally on the consumer.
Section 7 of the law says: “(a) Any person caught not wearing the standard protective motorcycle helmet in violation of this Act shall be punished with a fine of P1,500 for the first offense; P3,000 for the second offense; P5,000 for the third offense; and P10,000 plus confiscation of the driver’s license for the fourth and succeeding offenses.”
Mr. David argues, “The penalty for noncompliance -- to be imposed not just on riders without helmets but, as severely, on users of non-ICC compliant helmets -- is akin to punishing consumers who buy healing concoctions from Chinatown that have not been approved by the FDA. But, to be fair, the rest of the helmet law is good. Its principal objective is to make the wearing of protective helmets mandatory for all motorcycle riders. The problem is in the implementation. What kind of helmet will satisfy the law?”
“If the end goal is to reduce the number of motorcycle injuries and deaths on our streets,” says Mr. David, “the Land Transportation Office can do a lot to achieve this by making the issuance of motorcycle driving licenses much tougher than it is today. Practical and theoretical tests of driving skills and knowledge need to be strictly conducted. Possession of a mere driver’s license for 4-wheeled vehicles should not be taken as a sufficient qualification for motorcycle driving. Motor bikers who habitually carry more than one back rider on their bikes, particularly unprotected children, must be stopped and prevented from proceeding.”
“A helmet ultimately will not protect a rider as much as responsible riding does,” asserts Mr. David.
Read Mr. David's entire Opinion article here.
Five ways to cheat death on a motorcycle:
If you're looking to stay riding (and alive) for a long time, here are five tips to help you cheat death on a motorcycle.
Using information gleaned from a study which reported that motorcycle fatalities were essentially unchanged between 2010 and 2011, the Governors Highway Safety Association found that when these five specific issues are addressed, your survival odds can be increased dramatically.
TIP #1 - Wear a helmet
The GHSA study has found that helmets are 37 percent effective at preventing fatal injuries to motorcycle operators, and 41 percent effective for passengers.
According to the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration, lids were responsible for saving the lives of 1,829 riders in 2008.
NHTSA has also found that 822 of unhelmeted riders who died that year would have survived if they had been wearing helmets.
TIP # 2 - Lay off the booze
If you get a thrill from riding buzzed, or even worse, think you're a better rider after a few drinks, think again. Alcohol has an immediate and detrimental effect on your reflexes, which can make the crucial difference between taking a nasty spill and keeping the shiny side up.
According to the GHSA, a whopping 29 percent of fatally injured motorcycle riders in 2010 had a blood alcohol level at or above the legal limit of .08. Armed with that information, it's worth considering whether the enjoyment of a drink or two is worth the potentially deadly downside.
TIP #3 - Slow down, speedy!
If you enjoy the tingly sensation of speed, it's easy to fall in love with motorcycles; that rush is a big part of why so many are drawn to riding, and the thrill of going fast on an affordable bike is hard to beat on any machine, even high-priced exotic sports cars.
The bad news, according to the GHSA, is that 35 percent of riders involved in fatal accidents were speeding. Even worse?
More than half of those wrecks didn't even involve another vehicle. Exercise a bit of moderation when you're on two wheels, and you'll stand a far better chance of living long enough to enjoy many more miles.
TIP #4 - Get re-trained
If you think you know everything there is to know about riding, think again. Never mind the obvious beginner mistakes; here's no shortage of blind spots when it comes to motorcycling techniques no matter how advanced your skill level, and the best way to advance your abilities is to learn from a pro.
The Motorcycle Safety Foundation offers a wide variety of courses aimed at everyone from total newbies to re-entry riders looking to get back in the saddle. From urban settings to offroad surroundings and track situations, there's probably a course out there that will make you a better, not to mention safer, rider.
TIP # 5 - Share the road
This point is actually aimed at drivers not riders, but getting inside the minds of four-wheeled motorists will go a long way towards enhancing your chances of survival on two wheels.
NHTSA says that when many motorcycles collide with other vehicles, the rider's right of way is usually being violated. Considering that trend, it pays to be hyper aware of your surroundings when you're on a motorcycle, and follow these 10 tips to maximize your visibility when you're in traffic.
It goes without saying, but people in cars have far less to lose than motorcyclists. Imagine you're invisible and assume they're out to get you, and you'll boost your survival odds exponentially-- and it doesn't hurt when states participate in "share the road" campaigns, as seen in the photo above.
By Basem Wasef, About.com Guide
Please share, you may save a brother's life!
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