As a member of the motorcycle riders’ community, I want to ask about the law requiring motorcycle riders to wear helmets. I understand that wearing helmets is required when riding through national roads and major highways but are there any legal exceptions to the wearing of a helmet when motorcycle riders are going on short rides or when driving through small streets or back roads? I appreciate any advice from your office. Thank you, and more power to PAO!
Republic Act 10054 (RA 10054), known as the Motorcycle Helmet Act of 2009, is the primary law that mandates all motorcycle riders to wear standard protective motorcycle helmets and provides for the specific penalties for its violation.
This law was passed pursuant to the State’s objective of having a more proactive and preventive approach to secure the safety of motorists, their passengers and pedestrians at all times through the mandatory enforcement of the use of standard protective motorcycle helmet as part of the policy of the State to secure and safeguard its citizens, particularly operators or drivers of motorcycles and their passengers, from ruinous and extremely injurious effects of fatal or life-threatening accidents and crashes. (Sec. 2, RA 10054).
According to RA 10054:
“All motorcycle riders, including drivers and back riders, shall at all times wear standard protective motorcycle helmets while driving, whether long or short drives, in any type of road and highway.”(Sec. 3, Id.) Emphasis supplied.
The law in its entirety, and as specified by this provision, is clear and specific in requiring the wearing of motorcycle helmets. It mandates both the motorcycle driver and its passengers to wear it at all times for the duration of the ride and in all kinds of road. Thus, with regard to your question, the wearing of motorcycle helmets at all times is required by law even when riding through small streets and back roads, not just on major thoroughfares.
The only exception provided by law in the wearing of motorcycle helmets is with regard to drivers of tricycles. (Sec. 4, Id.) Aside from this exception, the law is absolute that all motorcycle riders should wear protective helmets at all times.
It is also important to note that not just any kind of helmet may be used by motorcycle riders. The law expresses that the helmets to be used by motorcycle riders are those that comply with the specifications issued by the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) which, in turn, shall issue guidelines regarding the specifications of standard protective motorcycle helmets. (Sec. 3, Id.) In relation to this provision, the law mandates that only those standard protective motorcycle helmets bearing the Philippine Standard (PS) or Import Commodity Clearance (ICC) mark shall be sold in the market. (Sec. 6, Id.)
RA 10054 also provides that any person caught riding a motorcycle without wearing the standard protective motorcycle helmet in violation of RA 10054 shall be punished with a fine of one thousand five hundred pesos (P1,500.00) for the first offense; three thousand pesos (P3,000.00) for the second offense; five thousand pesos (P5,000.00) for the third offense; and ten thousand pesos (P10,000.00) plus confiscation of the driver’s license for the fourth and succeeding offenses. (Sec. 7, Id.)
Again, we find it necessary to mention that this opinion is solely based on the facts you have narrated and our appreciation of the same. The opinion may vary when the facts are changed or elaborated.
We hope that we were able to enlighten you on the matter.
Editor’s note: Dear PAO is a daily column of the Public Attorney’s Office. Questions for Chief Acosta may be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org