The night earlier than I write this piece, I even have a dream. I attempt to come home early; however, my automobile crashes into a motorbike that unnoticed the lighting fixtures signaling that I was about to make a right flip. The crash sends the motorbike into a tumble, but thankfully — miraculously — the motive force survives unhurt. Just as I find out that he turned into, in reality, handing over the Thai salad I had ordered in advance of my arrival, I wake up.
In truth, motorcycles are — to borrow the phrases of the poet Mookie Katigbak-Lacuesta — a city dweller’s “excellent dream and worst nightmare.” On the one hand, they transport our meals, deliver our online buying purchases, quit our files to people who nevertheless insist (at this point!) on bodily signatures, and allow us to journey quickly from in which we are loved to in which we’re wished. On the other hand, they constitute a peril for each motorcycle rider and the general public’s relaxation.
I surely harbor fears of crashing into a bike for the reason that they reputedly materialize out of nowhere, particularly at night whilst a lot of them don’t actually have lights. In Katipunan, where I used to stay, bikes might even attempt to slip via the sidewalks that double as parking spaces, posing a risk to the Ateneans on their way to Regis Center. Positioned, many motorcycle drivers assume traffic rules don’t follow them.
Perhaps my view of bikes is also skewed through the many victims of bike crashes I actually have visible inside the Philippine General Hospital emergency room. While being in the ER can distort our notion of diverse troubles (for instance, we might become questioning, like Duterte, that tablets spoil the brain), the idea that motorcycles are especially perilous is sponsored by World Health Organization records showing that bike riders account for more than 50 percent of the over 10,000 annual avenue crash casualties within the country. But the riders themselves offer a distinct perspective.
My pal Philippe Arenillo, an entrepreneur, says he drives a Yamaha Nmax from Parañaque to Pasig: “With an automobile, the route used to value me about P450 in step with day. But now, with a motorcycle, it simply fees me P50-P60… at simply 1/2 the time!” With an emblem-new bike selling for simply the rate of a high-end phone, it is a whole lot extra low priced in comparison to motors these days, made even more costly with the aid of TRAIN. Philippe’s sentiments are shared by way of many Filipinos, which is probably why over a million motorbikes are sold every year inside the u. S . A. Not counting the increasing quantity of folks that paintings for motorbike-based services like Angkas and GrabExpress, it’s miles no coincidence that the rise in motorcycle use has corresponded with the deterioration of the MRT and the further worsening of our visitor’s scenario.
It’s also worth noting that whilst motorcycles violate several guidelines, the one’s regulations, similar to the roads themselves, have been designed for cars. Moreover, as the anthropologist Allison Truitt positioned it, motorcycles “elude tries to alter their movement precisely because they encompass the very mobility promised by using financial reforms”—a predicament as genuine in Manila as it’s miles in Truitt’s discipline web page, Saigon.
For now, it appears that each one we will do is to tighten our palms on the wheel or the handlebar. My simplest revel in using a motorcycle changed into Nicaragua, wherein the only alternative to attaining a volcano I desired to climb was to rent a (costly) van or hire a motorbike. Prodded via boisterous youngsters named Moses, a Canadian backpacker and I had been cajoled into taking the latter alternative—and my component-exhilarated, part-horrified self ended up using an old Honda scooter 60 kilometers over rolling highways and tough roads.
Even from that singular revel in, I can recognize the excitement — amid the necessity and the chance — that entices human beings to join those riders’ clubs that troop to Tanay on weekends, the same exhilaration that leads a few riders to pursue their Schumacher predilections. Philippe, who says that his wife made him take a bike safety course, recognizes it as a good deal. “It can experience like gambling an online game,” he tells me. “Only a chunk extra interesting.”