The prospect of finally having a safe space for those who prefer to ride bikes instead of the public transport is taking shape with the City Transport and Traffic Management Office (CTTMO) already inspecting streets that can accommodate a bike lane.
In the mid 2000. a technical working group composed of government agencies and bikers’ associations did a similar study when the late Councilor Leo Avila drafted the proposed Bicycle Ordinance. One of the members of this working group, Mindanao Times Operations Manager Dominic Carpio, recalled that they were assigned into teams monitoring specific streets and doing an actual count of how many bikes passed for 72 hours. The purpose was to find out which of the downtown streets were mostly used by bikers so that these will be the same streets where the bike lanes will be built.
In 2010, exactly 10 years ago, Ordinance No. 0409-10 or the Bicycle Ordinance was passed. So where are the promised bike lanes? Carpio said at that time, the Traffic Management Office requested to defer the plan as the roads were already narrow and bike lanes would only serve to further congest the traffic.
And then COVID happened. During the lockdown, the bike as a means of transport, especially among frontliners, gained support. With the crippled public transport, the bike succeeded to bring people from point A to point B. The bike became a symbol of resilience during that time of anxiety. People have to do essential work and the bike was the means to get to where they should go.
Mayor Sara Duterte has already instructed CTTMO head Dionisio Abude to finally implement the ordinance and prepare for the construction of bicycle lanes. The traffic office is mandated to designate the routes to be considered as “signed shared roadways or signed bike routes” and install signs along the routes to “indicate to the bicycle users that particular advantages exist in using the route and more importantly to serve as notice to motorized vehicle drivers that bicycle traffic is present.”
Using the bike as transportation not only supports the clean air initiative, it does not cost anything to the riders. We all look forward to a more healthy and clean lifestyle with the implementation of the ordinance. It might be 10 years late, but it could be worth the wait.