In the United States, sportbike riders are getting a bad rap. Articles in magazines have mentioned that between a rider on a Harley and a rider on a CBR liter bike, both running on the speed limit, authorities will focus their attention on the sportbike rider than the one on the cruiser.

Over here in Manila it is a lot worse. Every kind of rider gets a bad rap whether you are on a cruiser, enduro, sportbike, scoot or the popular underbone (cub type of motorcycle). This year I was flagged down twice and made to fall in line behind other riders, told to prepare our drivers license and registrations, shake downs like this can mean as much as a 30 minute delay in your commute. On a third occasion I was flagged down just to have my license and registration checked. The fourth incident was the worst for me. It was the rainy season, I was layered with my riding gear and rainsuit. On my way to work I went to an ATM to make a withdrawal. Upon entering the bank premises I was asked to remove my helmet, balaclava as well as my jacket. I removed my helmet and balaclava but argued that I was layered and that it would take alot of time and effort to remove everything for a transaction that might not even take longer than 1 minute. The guards who knew me as a regular client and a surgeon smugly told me that they were just doing their job. Not being one to shoot the messenger I decided to just look for another machine.

The biggest wrath on Filipino motorcyclists was 3 weeks ago. This happened down south of the metro around 10 in the evening. Police authorities were staking out a bank robbing syndicate when all hell broke loose. Since it was on a busy street, collateral death was just insane! A father and 7 year old daughter on a Honda Civic got gunned down. Witnesses claim that the father got out of the car, went around to get his daughter, authorities allegedly said they thought the guy was grabbing a weapon in the co-drivers side. As to the motorcyclist, authorities allegedly said that he was using a full face helmet and a black jacket and was fleeing the scene. I believe he was fleeing the scene as a matter of self preservation. To avoid any responsibility, the authorities immediately labeled him as a suspect. The family immediately countered this with a certificate of employment and affidavits from co-workers. To answer this, authorities now claim that one of the bad guys rode pillion and took the motorcyclist hostage and under threat was told to make a getaway. During the shootout with the pillion the motorcyclist became a collateral death. This version of the authorities still have to come up with a witness.

It is a known fact that the motorcycle is the favorite getaway vehicle of the bad guys and right now the worst traffic violators are on motorcyles. It’s unfortunate that the only thing authorities can see are bad apples in the basket that is called motorcyling.