We’ve all encountered a kamote on the road at some point, and no we’re not talking about the root crop. Kamote riders are part of an unrulier demographic in comparison to your average commuter or motorcycle enthusiast. These types of riders tend to give the rest of the riding community a bad name.
So, are you one yourself? What makes a rider a kamote? Let’s tackle 10 things.
Expired license, registration, and avid ticket collector
It’s one thing to ride like a maniac, but it is another to ride a motorcycle with invalid documentation, and an entire booklet of tickets. Licenses, registration, and other documents are only invalid when caught right? No, not really.
"Liko bago lingon"
The proper order of things on the road when making a turn is to look before you lean. Don’t do it the other way around. Kamote riders often turn first and then look later, which results in some pretty gruesome accidents. Look before you turn to be safe and to make sure that there is nobody coming up behind you. That goes for lane changes, right turns, left turns, and also U-turns.
“I'm a bicycle/bus”
Motorcycles are not bicycles, nor are they busses, so why do we still see motorcyclists use the bus lane and bike lanes to overtake? The government has specifically allocated these other lanes so everyone on the road can share. Commuters and cyclists already have it tough enough as it is, with cyclists having to pedal all the way home and commuters having to suffer long wait times to get a ride.
Not only do kamotes inconvenience other types of vehicles, but they also put themselves and others at risk. What happens if you cross a motorcycle with a bus? What happens if they collide?
Speaking of safety, helmets are perhaps one of the most important things that you need to take with you whenever you’re on a ride. You can go with a T-shirt, some jeans, gloves, and some closed-toed shoes, but a helmet is there to save your life if you crash. Other people say, just don’t crash, but you never know.
Slippers and slides
There is a reason why motorcycle gear manufacturers make boots and shoes, not slippers and slides. A motorcycle requires your hands and your feet to operate. Coming to a stop, you want to place your foot firmly on the ground so the bike doesn’t tip over. On top of that, you also need to use your foot to actuate the rear brake and the gear selector.
Security is the name of the game here, and some kamote riders just don’t mind having their feet exposed to the elements which include, air, water, bugs, sharp objects, heat from your motorcycle’s hotter bits, and other cars. We’ve seen a lot of horrific things happening on riders’ feet should they come into contact with a car or sharp objects, and injuries could have been prevented with proper footwear.
Literal... Exhaust pipe
Ah yes, an exhaust system, one of the more coveted modifications on a motorcycle. Have you ever heard the exhaust pipe on a kamote’s bike, though? Do take note, we said pipe, not system because these pipes may be nothing more than just that, a pipe. Perhaps there is a muffler there, but it doesn’t really do much to actually muffle the sound.
Plus, most of them don't run multi-cylinder bikes. If you’re familiar with how a single-cylinder engine sounds, dial that up to eleven, and you get a kamote’s exhaust pipe. Sure there are some models that have a nice thump to them like Royal Enfield's classic singles, but more often than not, the tones emanating from kamote pipes could give your ears a bit of a ring.
Wait, we were racing?
If going fast is all kamotes do, why don’t they just go to the race track every time they ride? There is a time and place for fast riding, and doing it in the city and overspeeding in twisty provincial roads is an invitation to disaster. While some people do spirited riding with good regard for limits and restraint, there are limits that you just don’t hit or try to hit.
There are a few... Glaring additions
By “glaring,” we mean extra lights and a copious amount of tack. Modifications are all part of the kamote’s repertoire. Everything from illegal blinkers and other similar modifications to stand out from the crowd are present. With these modifications, it might not be hard to spot a kamote even from afar. Don’t worry, if you can’t see them yet, you’re going to notice, or they’ll make you notice.
Of course, not all lights are bad. Some additions enhance visibility at night, like the one pictured above, but others are just plain distracting depending on the angle and whether it strobes or not. Also, throw in blinking brake lights for good measure. Yeah, nobody should run those types of lights on their bikes.
Stickers aren’t all bad. Stickers are simply part of the experience of riding. In some cases, stickers are like some sort of business card in the Philippine rider community and are often exchanged as a sign of friendship or camaraderie. Though, it’s those stickers that are often tacky and tactless that garner a lot of attention.
Think about those stickers with swear words on them or other crass statements and phrases. Heck, even stickers with lewd connotations can draw a lot of ire.
Solid white lines, yellow lines, double yellow lines, and other related road markers are all there to keep you safe and to inform you of any dangers. Whether it’s a two-way road, an intersection, or a junction you might see a kamote speeding past without slowing down. Heck, not even the huge white lines on pedestrian crossings are exempt.