Non-Motorized Vehicle

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Several weeks after many countries imple mented the “community quarantine” or “stay home” policy, pictures were shared on social media showing clear skyline in cities such as Manila. Because travel is restricted, there are lesser motor vehicles plying the roads therefore less carbon emission. Although it might be insensitive, the present disaster might have a silver lining after all. While people are detained in their homes nature can at least take a break from all the human activities that threaten it. I just came across an article on the internet saying bicycle has become more popular as a means of transportation during this time of community quarantine where public transport is prohibited. Perhaps it should especially if the destination is just a few kilometers away. Perhaps the practicality of the bike has to overcome the notion among Filipinos that the motor vehicle is an indication of the status of the owner. On the contrary, in the United Kindom Prime Minister Boris Johnson can often be seen riding his bicycle when he goes to the parliament. There might be a need for instituting a policy in our country that encourages the use of non-motorized vehicles. It will help the environment, minimize traffic congestion, and produce a more healthy population.

Aonuevo vs. Villagracia

This case involves very simple facts. Jonas Aonuevo was driving his Lancer along Boni Avenue when it struck Jerome Villagracia who as at that time on his bicycle. Villagracia suffered injuries requiring hospitalization and medical operations. Jerome filed a criminal case but was later dismissed only the civil case for damages proceeded against Aonuevo and his employer-Procter and Gamble. The Regional Trial Court rendered its judgment finding both Aonuevo and Procter liable for damages. The issue on appeal was “whether Article 2185 of the New Civil Code, which presumes the driver of a motor vehicle negligent if he was violating a traffic regulation at the time of the mishap, should apply by analogy to non-motorized vehicles” (G.R. No. 130003. October 20, 2004). Aonuevo anchored his argument on the fact that Villagracia did not install safety gadgets on his bicycle at the time of the collision.

Aonuevo is liable.

Villagracia admitted that he did not install safety gadgets on his bicycle and it is on this fact that Aonuevo claims that Villagracia is guilty of contributory negligence. Aonuevo argues that the Civil Code Article 2185 applies in this case by analogy which says: “Unless there is proof to the contrary, it is presumed that a person driving a motor vehicle has been negligent if at the time of the mishap he was violating any traffic regulation”. The Court is beingasked to interpret Art. 2185 to include non-motor vehicles such as the bicycle under its coverage. The SC cannot make this deviation because the article is very clear that what is covered only are “motor
vehicles” which necessarily excludes those unmotorized means of transport. The Court however, examined the issue of whether Villagracia is guilty of contributory negligence. The SC said: “The failure of the bicycle owner to comply with accepted safety practices, whether or not imposed by ordinance or statute, is not sufficient to negate or mitigate recovery unless a causal connection is established between such failure and the injury sustained. …violation of a traffic statute must be shown as the proximate cause of the injury, or that it substantially contributed thereto. Aonuevo had the burden of clearly proving that the alleged negligence of Villagracia was the proximate or contributory cause of the la tters injury. ” If ever Villagracia did not comply with an ordinance requiring the installation of safety devices or registration of his bicycle,= it was not the proximate cause of the accident. The careless driving of Aonuevo was the reason why the accide nt ha ppe ne d. Eve n if Villagracia were compliant with the ordinance, the collision would still have happened. Villagracia’s “negligence” did not contribute to the happening of the accident so it did not have any effect on the liability of Aonuevo

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