three-wheelers right-hand lane rule

Three-Wheelers Right-hand Lane Rule The Truth

There is much confusion about LTO memo about three-wheelers and Right-hand Lane Rule.

Does it mean you have to stay in the right-hand lane stuck behind slower vehicles?

The Law and the Right-hand Lane Rule

There is no separate law concerning three-wheelers and what lane they should drive in. However, there is a law that says all vehicles should drive on the right and that is the only Right-hand Lane Rule.

To explain this more we firstly need to correctly name the lanes on a road as there are many mistakes made by drivers, enforcers and LGUs.

There is no fast lane on any road it is an overtaking lane.

There is no cruising lane again it is an overtaking lane.

The lane on the right which has a solid white line separating it is not a lane it is a shoulder and it is illegal to drive on it.

All Vehicles should drive in the Right-hand Lane

Vienna Convention on Road Traffic

Position on the carriageway

  1. Without prejudice to the provisions to the contrary of Article 7, paragraph 1, Article 11, paragraph 6, and to other provisions of this Convention to the contrary, every driver of a vehicle shall, to the extent permitted by circumstances, keep his vehicle near the edge of the carriageway appropriate to the direction of traffic.

So it is very clear that every driver should drive in the lane closest to the edge of the road, which in the Philippines is the right-hand lane.


Republic Act 4136 is the main law when it comes to laws of the road in the Philippines, and is often referred to in LTO Memos and LGU rules, strangely even when the memo has no relation to anything in Republic Act 4136.

R.A. 4136 does not mention three-wheelers at all, it also does not have the word tricycle in it, it does mention sidecar but only in the Registration Fees and anyway a three-wheeler does not have a sidecar.

So where are LTO getting this rule from that three-wheelers must stay in the right-hand lane?

We presume it comes from Section 37

SECTION 37. Driving on Right Side of Highway. – Unless a different course of action is required in the interest of the safety and the security of life, person or property, or because of unreasonable difficulty of operation in compliance herewith, every person operating a motor vehicle or an animal-drawn vehicle on a highway shall pass to the right when meeting persons or vehicles coming toward him, and to the left when overtaking persons or vehicles going the same direction, and when turning to the left in going from one highway to another, every vehicle shall be conducted to the right of the center of the intersection of the highway.

Notice that rule does not say three-wheelers, it says “every person operating a motor vehicle” so it seems they have taken a rule that applies to all vehicles and are just enforcing it on three-wheelers.

If it is the case that they are just enforcing it on three-wheelers that is unjust as they should enforce all vehicles to follow the same law.

Can you overtake in a Three-Wheeler?

The simple answer is yes.

SECTION 37 says “shall pass to the right when meeting persons or vehicles coming toward him, and to the left when overtaking persons or vehicles going the same direction,”

It clearly states that you should pass to the left of vehicles going in the same direction when overtaking. So yes you can move out of the right-hand lane to overtake. But as soon as you are past you should move back to the right-hand lane. The same applies to cars, trucks, buses, motorcycles and every other vehicle.

Do not drive on the shoulder

Right-hand Lane Rule and the shoulder.

There are a few images that keep popping up on Facebook that seems to imply that three-wheelers, tricycles, motorcycles etc. should drive on the shoulder. I am not sure where they get the idea from or why they suggest it. What we do know is driving on the shoulder is illegal and dangerous.

A shoulder, or hard shoulder is an emergency stopping lane.

Last Year I made a video explaining correct lane control and the same applies today.

2 thoughts on “Three-Wheelers Right-hand Lane Rule The Truth”

  1. avatar of bryan dave

    i have read the link finally loaded after several tries, that is the general law on traffic, may because they treat 3 wheelers as “tricycle” which very wrong assumptions, as for multiple lanes the law is slow vehicles keep right but they are allowed to overtake slower vehicles using the overtaking lane then going back to the right lane with caution, these enforcers are lacking of proper orientation of road rules that’s why they apply their “customary” laws?

    1. avatar of simon

      Its got nothing to do with being a tricycle or not, it’s about proper lane discipline. Only use the overtaking lane when overtaking whichever vehicle you are driving.

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