This is an urgent call to the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) & Metro Manila Council to act upon the long time needs of our bike commuters:
1. Dedicated and protected bike lanes in all roads, most especially in major roads traversed by a significant number of bike commuters. (Eg. Commonwealth Avenue, Elliptical Road, EDSA, etc.)
2. Road markers and signage which indicates the presence of the bike lanes such as lane markers, distinguished lane color, bike lanes signage, caution to slow down, etc.
3. Assistance of MMDA traffic enforcers and city traffic management bureau in implementing existing law and city ordinances that protects the welfare and being of our bike commuters. (Eg. Marshaling along the bike lanes especially in area that are crucial: intersections, joining lanes, etc)
Why is this important?
With limited mass public transportation options during Metro Manila’s shift to General Community Quarantine, many Filipino workers opted to use bicycles and scooters to reach their workplace.
According to our bike traffic monitoring, the southbound lane of Commonwealth Avenue in Quezon City was traveled on by 20 bikers per minute on June 1st, the first day of GCQ equivalent to 2,400 bikers in 2 hours. On June 2, the southbound lane served 16 bikers per minute or 1,920 bikers in 2 hours. During MECQ, the southbound lane served 14 bikers per minute on the average during the morning rush hour.
These numbers cannot be ignored, and urgent solutions should be implemented with considerations on the following:
1. Safety of all road users: by having a dedicated, protected, and properly marked bike lanes, road accidents involving bikers can be mitigated. Bikers will have their own lane and would not have to pass in between cars, buses, and truck, and would prevent them from harming pedestrians on the side walks. It will be convenient, too, for other road users as it would initiate a mind shift of sharing the road with our bikers and respecting their rights to safely utilize public spaces.
2. Feasibility and sustainability of implementation: these needs are not temporary. Hence, solutions should also be permanent. Biking is now an integral part of our #BetterNormal lives, esp our workers. It should be taken as a good opportunity to promote alternatives to our inefficient mass public transportation by showing support and care to the bikers. Moving forward, bikers or biking lane should always be a part of city road planning and developments.
These are needed most now more than ever. Thousand of bikers are vulnerable everyday, as long as no action is taken…
The first two days of marshaling along Commonwealth Avenue showed that if you really want something to be done, you will make it happen, even if it means improvising equipment and dedicating your own time. What more with enough resources and manpower?
So first things first, #ProtectedBikeLanes noooooooooow!!