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Checkpoint etiquette: How to avoid getting in trouble on a motorcycle

Tired of getting tickets at checkpoints? Here’s what you need to do.

Motorcycle checkpoint Philippines

Different motorists have different opinions regarding checkpoints. Some see it as necessary to maintain order, while others consider it a nuisance that's better off eliminated. Whichever camp you might be in, you have to admit that riding through a checkpoint requires being on your best behavior. 

Whether you ride a scooter or a sportbike, as long as it has two wheels, you can’t escape a checkpoint. So, how can you avoid trouble when you find yourself stopped on the street?

Have your documents ready

When you're out riding, having complete documents with you is one of the most important things to remember. Your driver's license is the first thing that comes to mind. It's never a good idea to ride on public roads without a license. You'd be endangering other motorists, and you're likely to get a ticket as well.

Documents like your official receipt and certificate of registration (OR/CR) should also be kept in your motorcycle. Avoid separating these documents because they're usually asked together at checkpoints. 

Now, if you don't have complete documents for various reasons, you should have some substitutes with you. For example, if you financed your motorcycle and the dealer has your original OR/CR, you should at least have photocopies on hand. If you bought a used motorcycle and haven't transferred its ownership yet, you should have the deed of sale on you. Always keep these things handy, so your checkpoint experience can go as smoothly as possible.

Wear proper riding gear

This should go without saying, but you should never go on your motorcycle without the proper riding gear. Not only is it dangerous, but you're sure to be reprimanded at a checkpoint should you encounter one.

The minimum requirements are a helmet and closed shoes, but we recommend you go a step further and wear full riding gear which includes a jacket, gloves, and pants in addition to the minimum. Wearing a sando or sleeveless shirt and slippers isn’t going to fly at a checkpoint. It never hurts to be safe by wearing the proper safety gear.

Be polite

Kindness goes a long way, especially at a checkpoint. Police officers on duty at checkpoints typically deal with hundreds of motorists on any given day. It can be exhausting, so try to exercise politeness when dealing with them. 

You can do this by greeting the officers and removing your helmet upon arriving at the checkpoint. Don't forget to thank the officers after you're free to go. This will make it easier for everyone involved.

Keep your cool

There have been many anecdotes of suspicious incidents at checkpoints. If you ever find yourself in one, try to keep calm and assess the situation logically. Don't do anything rash that might make things difficult for you in the long run.

If you notice anything suspicious, you can record the incident for your safety. Whatever you do, don't raise your voice or otherwise indicate that you're hostile towards the officers. Diplomacy and good manners can get you through the ordeal.

What to do if you get in trouble

Motorcycle checkpoint

Sometimes, you just can't avoid getting in trouble. When this happens at a checkpoint, here's what you should do.

First, get the attending officer's name. This is crucial should you wish to file a report. You should also get the plate number of their vehicle and their assigned precinct. If the officers attempt to impound your motorcycle, ask which lot they're taking the bike. 

If you've been slapped with a violation or ticket that you think is wrong or unfair, don't try to argue out of it. Instead, take the information you've collected and file a dispute with the proper officials. Doing this will give you a better chance of having the violation reversed or nullified. If you're proven correct, it may also ensure that the erring officer is held accountable.

So, avoiding trouble on a motorcycle isn't complicated at all. Have your documents with you, practice politeness, and keep your cool. If you do all these, you should breeze through any checkpoint without a problem.

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