House panel OKs bill on safe distance for overtaking cyclists


MANILA — A measure requiring a minimum distance of 1.5 meters for motorists when overtaking cyclists hurdled the committee level at the House of Representatives.

The House transportation committee, chaired by Catanduanes Rep. Cesar Sarmiento, approved House Bill 8446 or the Minimum Overtaking Distance Bill.

ACT Teachers Rep. Antonio Tinio, author of the bill, lauded its swift approval at the committee level, noting that it is a step closer toward “making roads safer for cyclists in the Philippines.”

“Cyclists nationwide have been struggling to share the road with motor vehicles in the absence of a nationwide network of bicycle lanes. They expose themselves to risks of serious injury or death. The approval of this bill and its enactment into law will help protect cyclists in the Philippines,” he said.

“Through new road rules, such as the Minimum Overtaking Distance law, strict enforcement of these rules by traffic authorities, better discipline from drivers, cyclists, pedestrians, and other road users, lives can be saved as we try to prevent accidents and make our roads safer for all,” he added.

Tinio cited Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) data from 2015 wherein more than 900 persons — or nearly three cyclists and other road users per day — were reported to have been involved in accidents in Metro Manila.

The bill seeks to penalize violators with a fine of PHP5,000 for the first offense; PHP10,000 for the second offense; PHP15,000 and suspension of driver’s license for three months for the third offense; and PHP20,000 and revocation of driver’s license for subsequent offenses.

The MMDA, the Philippine National Police, local government units, and other concerned government units shall be responsible for the enforcement of provisions of the proposed law. (PNABy Filane Mikee Cervantes

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