Why are bikers so angry about the new ‘doble plaka’ law for motorcycles?

The Motorcycle Crime Prevention Act, commonly known as the ‘doble plaka’ law, implements a new number plate system for motorcycles. It essentially requires these new color-coded number plates to be larger so that they may be read from a distance of at least 15 meters. It was signed into law last March 8. Violation of the law could result in a fine, imprisonment, or a seizure of your vehicle.

People were so enraged by this new law that it led to a protest. The ‘Unity Ride’ against the ‘doble plaka’ law was 10,000 strong as the motorcade went from the People Power Monument along EDSA to the Senate building in Pasay. But what is it about the law that makes riders so angry?

unity ride

Ibba Bernardo (@ibbara) of RidePH explains the controversy behind it on his Youtube channel. He gives us these 4 reasons:

#1: It is unsafe

He illustrates that what you’re doing is essentially strapping a metal blade to the front of your bike. The plates will operate as razors racing down a road at 20-80kmh. Not only is this highly risky for the riders themselves, there’s also a high chance that they will unintentionally harm pedestrians too.

#2: There are massive fines

The law enforces a P50k-P100k fine should you be caught without the proper plates. Or you could be incarcerated for 6 months and 1 day to 6 years. Bernardo argues that the law allows for too much room to make an honest mistake. Application for license plates is so tedious and lengthy that you’re forced to wait a long while even after beginning the process. However, because they don’t even give temporary stickers for motorcycles that means accidentally leaving your registration for a license plate would lead to you being fined.

#3: It devastates the motorcycle industry

Bernardo reveals one surprising part of the law: the sale of motorcycles which do not have the proper plate-holder needed for the ‘doble plaka’ will be stopped. According to him, however, no such motorcycles are manufactured. As the only country in the world which requires plates at the front of the motorcycle, the necessary design is non-existent. So the sale of motorcycles in the Philippine market would have to be unilaterally stopped.

#4: The law is anti-poor

Think about it this way: most people have other options. Ride-hailing apps, private cars, or public transportation are all viable options for anyone who does not need to use a motorcycle. So who are those that do find it necessary? Bernardo answers that it is those who depend on it for their livelihood. Delivery men, Angkas riders, messengers, and the like have all been able to earn a decent living through driving motorbikes. This new law puts that heavily in danger.

(LOOK: This rider was forced to wait an hour for a customer to receive a package)

Despite all the negative sentiments, the government remains firm in their decision. Philippine National Police (PNP) chief Director General Oscar Albayalde justifies that it is a necessary action. He states:

I don’t think that [the law] is discrimination. This is part of security, security of the whole Philippines, not only to anybody, but for all. The government saw that we can avoid theriding-in-tandem incidents with this. This is not discriminatory. This is all part of the peace and security of the whole nation.

What do you think about this new law?