A helmet and a face shield would just be practical

Since July 10, motorcycle backriding has been allowed for couples, following the approval of safety dividers for that purpose and guidelines put in place to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

“A helmet and a face shield would just be practical,” according to most motorists.

The prototype done by the provincial government was picked up and approved by the National Inter Agency Task Force.

Interior Secretary Eduardo Año on Monday said the National Task Force for COVID-19 has approved the use of the backpack-like shield proposed by motorcycle taxi service Angkas.

Couples who are planning to back ride or pillion ride on motorcycles have more options for the barriers, which is now a requirement to contain the spread of COVID-19. 

The motorcycle driver will wear the straps on his shoulders. The plastic shield will separate him from his passenger. There are also handles on the passenger side.

Sen. Revilla, also a motorcycle rider, pointed out that several engineers and experts are opposing the mandatory installation of dividers in motorcycles “because it will become a question of safety, aerodynamics and maneuverability for riders.”

He suggested that the IATF conduct a “comprehensive consultation” among motorcycle manufacturers and experts to come up with better guidelines that will protect motorcycle riders from obtaining COVID-19 and at the same time preventroad mishaps.

Social media users have been citing science that indicates installing a barrier could make the ride dangerous, while others say it doesn't make sense to put a barrier between couples since they live together anyway.

The newly approved barrier design for the resumption of pillion riding, which had been banned during the lockdown, is perceived dangerous to the passengers.

In a statement on July 13 on Facebook, Cavite Gov. Jonvic Remulla, who was also often vocal online about his views on government policies, pointed out that the barrier or back shield design which the Department of Interior and Local Government presented to the public was unnecessary and risky for both the passenger and the driver of motorcycles.

Remulla also argued that the minimum health protocols from the Department of Health such as wearing face masks and other safety gear such as helmets should be enough.

Back riding is strictly for husbands and wives, common-law couples, and live-in partners only. They need to present IDs at checkpoints or to law enforcers as proof that they are a couple.

Aside from the shield, motorcycle-riding couples must wear their face masks and helmets.

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