These days, motorcycles are no longer limited to two-wheeled machines. Recent years have brought about a plethora of impressive, performance oriented three-wheelers which are considered motorcycles for all intents and purposes. Machines like the neck-breaking Yamaha Niken 900 feature two-wheel setup at front, and a single wheel at the rear, to which engine power is transferred to the ground. Other machines such as the Can-Am Spyder make it easy for riders with zero two-wheeled experience to enjoy the freedom of strapping on a helmet and going for a ride.
Given all the developments in technology—particularly in terms of safety—the Department of Transportation (DOTr) has taken notice of all this and has finally issued a mandate approving the use of three-wheeled vehicles on the expressways provided that they meet the minimum displacement requirements of 600cc. Under Administrative Order 2021-006 entitled “Supplemental Rules and Regulations Governing the Use of Limited Access Facilities by Motorcycles”, the DOTr recognizes the changes and advancements in technology in symmetrical three-wheelers, and has deemed them safe for use on Philippine highways.
This brings us to the next point, however, and this may come as sad news to classic sidecar enthusiasts. The new administrative order allowing the use of three-wheelers on the highway outlines that only three-wheeled vehicles with a symmetrical chassis will be allowed access to the expressways. That means sidecars, no matter how big their engines, will unfortunately, not be allowed entry into the expressways. For two-wheelers, on the other hand, the existing 400cc rule will continue to be implemented for the foreseeable future.
Having said all that, the approval of the newest administrative order opens a lot of doors for motorcycle manufacturers to spruce up their premium model lineups in the local market. We would certainly love to see the Yamaha Niken 900 and its sport-touring variant, the Niken 900 GT on local shores. Not to mention Can-Am’s new and improved fleet of high-performance three-wheelers.