Dress Code for Motorcycle Drivers in the Philippines

If you drive or ride a motorcycle in the Philippines, you probably know that there exists a Dress Code for Motorcycle Riders violation under the new Single Ticketing System (STS) implemented by the Land Transportation Office (LTO).

Also Read: Dress Code Uniform when Visiting LTO Office

The rule on the dress code applies not only to motorcycle drivers but also to pillion riders. Anyone who’s had to endure paying fines just to get their driver’s license back from another city for some random traffic violation knows what a pain it can be. Like any other violations, getting caught disregarding the dress code entails stiff penalties, so it’s best to be in the know if you don’t want to pay hefty LTO fees or risk suspension of your license. 

What is the Dress Code for Motorcycle Riders

The Philippines is pretty lax compared to other countries when it comes to the law regarding dress codes for motorcycle riders. It doesn’t mean, however, that no rules exist. In fact, the Motorcycle Dress Code dates back to 2008 and it is among the provisions of the LTO Administrative Order (AO) No. AHS-2008-015. In it, you will find the rules and regulations governing the use and operation of motorcycles on roads and highways. 

Sure, there is no “explicit” list of specific articles of clothing and protective devices or equipment in the Dress Code, but if you need a little reminder on what it actually says as the minimum prescribed dress code when riding a motorcycle in the Philippines: Wearing a full-face helmet with proper ICC markings and closed footwear will work well to ensure safety. Though it’s best to complete the motorcycle gear with gloves and long pants, at the very least, you can complete the ensemble that will work well in the event of an accident. 

Things You Need to Wear When Riding a Motorcycle

For your reference, here are some things you can’t ride a motorcycle without:

Motorcycle Helmet (required)

Not allowed: Non-certified or substandard helmets, bicycle helmets, skateboard helmets, hardhats, other substandard helmets, no helmet

Pursuant to Section 6 of Republic Act No. 10054 (RA 10054), also known as the Motorcycle Helmet Act of 2009, driving without wearing the standard protective motorcycle helmet and failing to require backrider/s to wear the standard protective motorcycle helmet is punishable by law. The law requires all motorcycle riders, including drivers and back riders, to wear standard protective motorcycle helmets while driving. This law also covers both long or short drives in any type of road and highway.

What are standard helmets? 

According to the same law, standard motorcycle helmets must have either a Philippine Standard (PS) mark or an Import Commodity Clearance (ICC) sticker from the Bureau of Product Standards (BPS) to ensure that these comply with safety standards. DOT and ECE markings are also often found as stickers at the back of the helmet near the base.

The common types of motorcycle helmets include: 

  • full face (with a fixed protective chin bar and visor) 
  • open face (with no chin bar)
  • modular
  • off-road
  • hybrid (ADV/enduro) 

All types of motorcycle helmet are allowed as long as they meet the proper safety standards, though the full face type is recommended. 

Fines and penalties

No motorcycle helmet
  • 1st offense: P1,500
  • 2nd offense: P3,000
  • 3rd offense: P5,000
  • 4th and subsequent offenses: P10,000 with confiscation of the driver’s license

Stricter fines and penalties are also imposed to those who use, sell, and distribute substandard motorcycle helmets or those helmets which do not bear the PS mark or the ICC certificate:

Use of helmet with no ICC markings
  • 1st offense: P3,000
  • 2nd and subsequent offenses: P5,000 (without prejudice to other penalties imposed under the Consumer Act of the Philippines)

Closed Footwear (required)

Other than the motorcycle helmets, another piece of clothing that’s mandated by law is a pair of closed shoes. This means that flip-flops, sandals, or other equivalent footwear are prohibited when riding a motorcycle—both for the driver and the passenger. This order is detailed in the administrative order issued by the Land Transportation Office (LTO), AHS-2008-15, which expressly states that wearing flip-flops, slippers, sandals, or other equivalent footwear on a motorcycle is prohibited. 

Closed footwear, which generally means the entire foot should be fully covered, must include the top of the foot and the heel. And no, traditional Crocs with holes in the design and open back with strap is not allowed. Hairnets over slippers don’t count as closed footwear either. Wearing anything other than closed shoes poses significant danger in the event of a crash as bare human flesh and bone stands no chance against hundreds of pounds of steel and concrete. 

Fines and penalties

  • 1st offense: P500
  • 2nd offense: P750
  • 3rd offense: P1,000 plus revocation of driver’s license

Other protective gears

While it is not mandated by the law in the Philippines, extra safety gear like padded motorcycle jackets, gloves, and riding boots may be needed for those on big bikes passing the expressway. Reflective vests may also be needed if you enjoy riding at night.

The definition of “Protective devices” does not include specific penalty/violation and accompanying fine for not wearing goggles, heavy pants, heavy jackets, or leather gloves. The fines that have been detailed in the AO do not include not wearing any of these articles of clothing as being a violation.

Gloves (optional)

Riding gloves helps protect the hands of motorcycle riders. This refers to the type of gloves that can be used when riding a motorcycle. These gloves are usually made of leather, fabric, mesh or a mixture of these materials and have protective pads or armor to protect various parts of the hands. Motorcycle gloves also offer added protection, safety, comfort, and style. They help protect the hands from serious injury, offer added grip strength for better control of the handlebars, and to dampen vibrations from the road.

Jacket (optional)

Motorcyclists are advised to wear riding jackets in order to literally save their skin on the road. Motorcycle jackets also shield riders and passengers from the elements of nature while riding. A good jacket blocks out the chill, too. After all, flying at high speeds produces some serious wind.

Pants (optional)

Riding pants are also another way to protect the riders and passengers. Whether you choose to wear riding pants or leathers over your everyday clothing, the key here is protection. In any case, leather, kevlar and other synthetic materials used in pants designed specifically for motorcycle riding will protect you best in case of an accident. Some types of riding pants also have hard plastic armor at the knees and hips.

Reflective vests (optional)

Reflective vests are personal protective equipment generally designed with a combination of bright colors and reflective sections so that visibility is maximized regardless of the kind of light available. One study said that motorcycle riders are less likely to be involved in an accident or a crash when they are wearing high-visibility or fluorescent clothing. After all, it does help increase conspicuity, or obvious presence, which is particularly important when driving on the road at night. 

Important Reminders

While Philippine laws don’t explicitly require the use of full motorcycle-approved riding gear, it’s always a good idea to do so. Making sure that you are dressed properly whenever you ride your motorcycle—no matter where it is you’re going, is also very important. This helps you get prepared in the event of a crash. After all, without protective gears, the likelihood of you walking away from the accident increases tenfold. 

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

For your reference, here are some common questions, and answers about it?

1. What exactly should motorcycle riders be wearing?

The Philippine law regarding the dress code for motorcycle riders does not explicitly state this, but it is common knowledge among riders and authorities alike that anyone operating or riding a motorcycle should be wearing closed shoes. Pillion riders or back riders are  also mandated to wear closed shoes.

2. What kind of helmet is allowed in the Philippines?

Any legitimate motorcycle helmet—regardless if it’s full-face, modular, or open-face—is allowed for use as long as it already adheres to the safety standards set by the government. However, do note that under the Republic Act No. 10054 or the Motorycle Helmet Act of 2009, helmets must bear the Philippine Standard (PS) mark or the Import Commodity Clearance (ICC) of the Bureau of Product Standards (BPS) to ensure that they adhere to correct safety standards. Having other safety ratings such as DOT, ECE, FIM, and Snell is okay, but local legislation doesn’t really pay much attention to that. It would still be good for riders to know about them, especially for those who plan to get into more serious riding. 

3. Are shorts allowed?

Yes. The Philippine law only requires riders to wear helmets and closed shoes. Specialized protective gear such as motorcycle jackets, gloves, or padded pants, also helps. The laws also do not specifically mention anything that prohibits riders from wearing shorts either.

4. Can you wear shorts while driving a motorcycle in Metro Manila? 

According to the Metro Manila Development Authority (MMDA), yes, you can still wear shorts—for now. It is not prohibited by the MMDA just yet. 

5. What are the dangers of wearing shorts while riding?

While technically you can wear shorts, though it is not really advisable especially for city rides and long rides. Shorts leave your legs exposed to possible burns from the motorcycle engine and exhaust pipes and leaves you more vulnerable in case of accidents.

Summary

For your own safety, it’s best to follow the motorcycle dress code for motorcycle riders properly, regardless if you are driving or back riding. If you’re passing by major roads like EDSA and other highways in the city, for safety purposes6, the bare minimum should be pants. Since jackets can be heavy because of the heat, breathable long sleeve dri-fit shirts are also popular among riders. Anyway, the dress code is supposed to be for the safety of drivers and passengers alike to minimize injuries.

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