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Swapang! or the perils of walking

July 2013


Walking to the jeepney terminal for a ride to the university, I was irritated by the constant honking behind me as motorcycles rode up the sidewalk to avoid the weaving into congested traffic along Aurora Boulevard. And so I tried to stand my ground allowing only  half the space of the sidewalk for these motorcycles to pass through. As far as I’m concerned, I was already too generous giving part of the space that is for pedestrians and not for motorized traffic. Still, there were a few motorcyclists who seem to think they had the right of way as they attempted to convince me give up more space so they could practically take over the sidewalk. I didn’t give way and assumed they were cursing me inside their helmets. Manigas sila! I thought that in the end, sila ang asar at talo in this situation, not me.

ImageMotorcycles dominating space for pedestrians

At one point, I held my ground and didn’t give way to the motorcycles behind me [Advisory: This is not for everyone especially those who are “pikon” or who are looking for a fight.]. I knew my rights and I was walking on the pedestrian sidewalk. Unfortunately, a bicycle came along and I gave way only because I also appreciated cycling and understood that pedestrians and cyclists are sort of “kindred spirits” in a world dominated by motorized transport. The bicycle was immediately followed by two motorcycles including one that almost sideswiped the cyclist. I took the photo above  to better show the situation.

The other day, I chanced upon a similar situation as I was driving in heavy traffic along Amang Rodriguez in Pasig City. What little space was available for pedestrians along a narrow sidewalk along this road connecting Marikina and Pasig cities.

IMG06407-20130710-0736Motorcycles using a narrow pedestrian sidewalk to avoid traffic congestion along Amang Rodriguez

These cases are clear examples of swapang attitude or behavior that is prevalent among many road users. Unfortunately, these are not apprehended or accosted by traffic enforcers. The latter seem to be more engrossed with number coding and swerving violations, anyway, that they seem to have forgotten all the other traffic violations that included this brazen behavior of motorcyclists. Perhaps enforcers should go back to the basics and take more notice of all those other violations (e.g., speeding, counter flowing, beating the red light, beating the green light, etc.) to improve and promote discipline on our roads.

1 Comment

  1. […] day scene #1 (source) Every day scene #2 (source) This actually happened in Indonesia but any Metro Manila resident […]

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