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Thousands of bikers protest in Manila

Local government legislation is seeking to curtail many of the rights enjoyed by motorcyclists

Thousands of motorcyclists gathered in Manila yesterday protesting proposed government legislation stopping riding pillion in an effort to curb crime, which campaigns say unfairly targets bikers.

Over a thousand cyclists rode through Quezon City, in central Manila, on Sunday after Mayor Joseph Estrada announced plans were being considered to prevent bikers riding pillion in the city.

Quezon City is considering requiring all motorbike users to wear a vest with their motorbike’s plate number displayed, alongside considerations requiring all motorists to wear registered white helmets as well as a proposed 30-kph speed limit.

Many workers use motorbikes because they are a cheap and agile transport - able to weave through traffic with ease

After a recent spate of crimes, usually thefts or assassinations committed by two people on a highly mobile motorbike, local governments are considering the measures in an effort to tackle the national problem.

But a Motorcycle Rights Organisation (MRO) spokesperson commented motorcycle riders should not be punished for crimes that happen around the city.

The protesters drove through Quezon City, a district of Manila city

Wilson Fortaleza, a spokesperson for the political party Partido ng Manggagawa, stated that motorbikes were a common form of transport for many workers because they were more affordable.

He refuted the connection between motorbikes and crimes and said: “Not all riders are criminals, and thus do not deserve a ‘ person of interest’ kind of profiling.”

Campaigner claim the legislation will adversely affect workers

Despite still being only proposals, local media outlets report it is already common for police to flag down motorcycle riders to check their registration papers.