The proposed "Minimum Overtaking of Cyclists Distance Act” is principally authored by Rep. Antonio Tinio (Party-list, ACT Teacher) and Committee on Transportation Chairman Rep. Cesar Sarmiento (Lone District, Catanduanes).
It provides that the driver of a motor vehicle overtaking and passing a bicycle that is travelling in the same direction shall maintain a minimum overtaking distance of 1.5 meters between any part of the motor vehicle and any part of the bicycle or its cyclist.
The bill mandates the Metro Manila Development Authority, Philippine National Police (PNP), local government units (LGUs) and other concerned government agencies and instrumentalities to be responsible for the enforcement of the foregoing provisions and shall render such assistance as may be required by the Department of Transportation-Land Transportation Office (DOTr-LTO), the lead agency, to effectively implement the provisions of the Act.
Violators of the Act shall be meted the following penalties: P5,000 fine for the first offense; P10,000 fine for the second offense; P15,000 fine and suspension of driver’s license for three months for the third offense; and P20,000 fine and revocation of driver’s license for the fourth offense.
The DOTr may raise the fines once every five years in the amount not exceeding 10 percent of the existing rates sought to be increased which shall take effect only upon publication in at least two newspapers of general circulation.
The foregoing penalties shall be imposed without prejudice to other liabilities under the Revised Penal Code or any special law arising out or occasioned by any violation of the minimum overtaking distance set.
The DOTr-LTO, in coordination with the Philippine Information Agency (PIA), Department of Education (DepEd), Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG), MMDA, PNP, and private agencies and organizations shall undertake a nationwide information, education and communication campaign for a period of six months from the effectivity of the Act.
The DOTr-LTO shall promulgate the necessary implementing rules and regulations within 60 days after the effectivity of the Act.
Tinio, who also sponsored the bill on the floor, said mandating a minimum overtaking distance is one way of protecting cyclists and other road users, and encourage more people to take up cycling, whether for commuting, exercise, or leisure.
Other countries have had positive experiences with the introduction of a mandated minimum overtaking distance, encouraging drivers to stay ‘wider of the rider’, according to Tinio.
Due to lack or absence of cycling-friendly infrastructure throughout the country, he said cyclists are forced to journey side-by-side with motor vehicles, exposing them daily to the risk of serious or fatal accidents.
“According to the Metro Manila Development Authority, more than 900 persons - nearly three cyclists and other road users per day – were reported to have been involved in accidents in Metro Manila in 2015,” said Tinio.