Is calling a Bajaj RE a Bajaj Tricycle correct?
In the Philippines, the Bajaj RE is often called a Bajaj tricycle. So is the Bajaj RE a tricycle? The simple answer is no it is not a tricycle.
I often hear Filipinos say but it has 3 wheels and “tri” means three, while it is true that “tri” means 3 they are forgetting the “cycle” part of the word.
Please see update at bottom of page.
English Meaning of Tricycle
Philippines law is written in English so the first thing you need to do is look at the English meaning of tricycle.
The Oxford English dictionary states.
1A vehicle similar to a bicycle, but having three wheels, two at the back and one at the front.
1.1 A three-wheeled motor vehicle for a disabled driver.
The Bajaj is in no way similar to a bicycle which is where the cycle part of the word tricycle comes from. It is also not designed for disabled drivers.
So we can rule out one hundred percent it being a tricycle under the English meaning of the word. However, that also means what is known as a tricycle in the Philippines is also not a tricycle, and this is true in English they are really called a motorbike and sidecar not a tricycle.
Philippines Law Definition of a Tricycle
So we need to look at the definition of tricycle in Philippines Law, the first place I tried to find a definition of tricycle was the Land Transportation Office (LTO), strangely even though they have tricycle as a class of vehicle I was unable to find any reference to a definition of tricycle.
Next I turned to Philippines law and after long hours of searching, I found in the FOURTEENTH CONGRESS OF THE REPUBLIC OF THE PHILIPPINES S.B. 3289 a definition of what a tricycle is under Philippines law.
It defines what a tricycle is in Section 3.
A. TRICYCLE – means a motor vehicle composed of a motorcycle with not more
than two (2) cylinders of five hundred cubic centimetres (500cc) engine capacity
fitted with single-wheel side car designed to accommodate four (4) passengers only
including the driver.
Another Senate bill stating what a tricycle is.
The Bajaj RE is not fitted with a sidecar in any form so under the definition by the House of Congress of the Republic of the Philippines an RE is not a Tricycle.
So what is a BAJAJ RE if it is not a tricycle?
In English it is a Tuk-Tuk that is the name given to it my the English when they first saw it in India, the name came about because the noise the old 2-stroke engines used to make.
In India and other countries in Asia it is an auto-rickshaw.
In most countries in the world a Bajaj RE is registered as a three-wheeler or a three-wheeled motor vehicle, which gives them the same rights on the road as a car apart from the fact you can drive them ever with a motorcycle license or a car license.
In the Philippines they seem to register a Bajaj RE as ever a non-conventional motor vehicle or a non-conventional motorcycle.
Bajaj RE and Security Guards
The main offenders of causing a Bajaj RE rider problems seem to be security guards in Mall car parks. Or security guards on private roads. There has also been a few cases of traffic enforces claiming it is a tricycle and giving a ticket for using it on a highway, we will come to this point later.
If a security guard stops you entering a car park, argue your case, if you turn round and go away it makes him think he was correct and he will make life difficult for all other Bajaj RE owners.
Point out the points above and also point out that your money is as good as a car owners money, just because you choose to drive a vehicle with 3 wheels and not 4 does not mean you will not spend as much money in the mall. Drivers of 3 wheelers should not be classed as second class citizens and should have the same rights as drivers of 4 wheeled vehicles. If all else fails ask to the rules in writing regarding 3 wheeled vehicles, you will probably find if there is a rule it says tricycles which means it does not apply to a Bajaj RE.
Traffic enforces and the Bajaj RE
While it seems very rare for traffic enforces to stop a Bajaj RE for plying along national highways there have been a few cases. Many RE owners drive along national highways everyday with no problem at all, some of them even drive along EDSA daily. I have seen video of the MMDA and LTO waving BAJAJ RE’s on when they are having a huge clap down on illegal vehicles using EDSA.
So why has there been a few cases of traffic enforces ticketing Bajaj RE drivers? Firstly this will be because like many in the Philippines they think a tricycle is any vehicle with 3 wheels. Second is they do not understand what the word ply means, so many Filipinos seem to think the word ply simply means to travel.
The law states Tricycles are prohibited to ply along national highways. This does not stop them from travelling along national highways it stops them plying along national highways which is not the same thing.
Again if we look at an English dictionary it says:
Travel regularly over a route for commercial purposes.
So if you are using a Bajaj for private use you travel on the road not “ply on the road”, it is only people using them for commercial purposes that are plying.
So the 2 points here to why the traffic enforcer is wrong are:
1) The Bajaj is not a tricycle.
2) A private user is not plying.
If you are a traffic enforcer and reading this please don’t take it as a criticism it is not, we respect you and realise you do a valuable job that is not easy, we also realise that there are so many rules it would be impossible for anyone to know them all correctly. We only know about these laws because we are Bajaj RE owners so we have researched the laws that may apply to us.
We hope this article has cleared up any misunderstanding about what a Bajaj RE is and no mater if you are thinking of buying a Bajaj RE or you already own one you will find it helpful. When people call it a Bajaj tricycle correct them by pointing out it is not a Bajaj tricycle it is a Bajaj 3 wheeler.
UPDATE 10th January 2019
On the 9th September 2018 LTO issued LTO memorandum circular 2018-2148 which states the Bajaj 4s and the Piaggio Ape shall be classed as Motorcycle-Tricycle. However as far as we are aware there is no such class as Motorcycle-Tricycle.
It has come to our attention that the Bajaj RE is now being registered as a Motorcycle with Sidecar even though it is plain to see there is no sidecar.
This LTO Memo seems to have been removed from LTO website, which makes us wonder why.
In a meeting with Mr Alberto Suansing the former chief of LTO he confirmed all what we have said in this article as being correct, and with no prodding from us said the law clearly states that a tricycle is a Motorcycle with Sidecar and that the Bajaj RE should be registered as a Non-Conventional Motorcycle.