Pia Cayetano wants bicycles recognized as alternative mode of transport nationwide

Published July 16, 2019, 5:09 PM

by Dr. Eduardo Gonzales

By Hannah L. Torregoza

Returning Senator Pia Cayetano on Tuesday said she believes it is time that the government officially recognizes bicycles as an alternative and sustainable mode of transportation throughout the country.

Senator Pia S. Cayetano (Facebook / MANILA BULLETIN)
Senator Pia S. Cayetano (Facebook / MANILA BULLETIN / FILE PHOTO)

A biking and fitness enthusiast, Cayetano is now pushing for the passage of the “National Bicycle Act of 2019” which shall mandate the development of policies, infrastructure and facilities to properly integrate bicycles as part of the public transportation system.

“It is time to change our mindset about traffic and find alternative means to move forward from this perennial problem,” Cayetano said.

“We should do away with the old thinking that cars are for the rich and bikes are for the poor. Increasingly, we see more people coming to work on two wheels, young and old, from vendors to workers, professionals, and even executives,” she stressed.

The measure is among the second batch of bills she filed for the 18thCongress.
Cayetano said cycling not only offers an efficient means of mobility amid the daily traffic gridlock, but is also an affordable, environment-friendly, and healthy alternative to motor vehicles.

“Many startups are also switching to using bicycles, like courier and food delivery services,” she pointed out.

“Biking is not just a means of leisure or past time, it has become a way of life for many Filipinos,” she added.

The lawmaker said, she herself regularly uses a bike to visit and interact more directly with residents in urban communities and to reach far-flung towns and mountain villages in the provinces.

She also actively joins triathlons and bike festivals that highlight local sports and eco-tourism.
Cayetano said one of the things she hopes lawmakers would address during the deliberation of the bill would be issues on safety.

“News and social media posts regularly report about bikers being sideswiped or ran over by undisciplined drivers of motor vehicles. And so this is one reason why we need to enact a national policy to ensure the protection of bikers,” she stressed.

The measure mandates the Department of Transportation (DOTr) and Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH), in coordination with local government units to take the lead in designating bicycle lanes, which shall serve as exclusive passage for cyclists.

Under the bill, motor vehicles would be prohibited from being driven or parked on any bike lane.

The bike lanes shall be separated by a physical barrier, whenever possible, and shall be clearly identified with signs or pavement markings.

In cases where installation of a physical barrier is not feasible, the lane for bicycles shall be identified through reflectorized painted lines.

Also under the bill, all public places, government offices, schools, major business establishments, including malls, banks, restaurants, hospitals, and the like, are mandated to provide adequate racks for bike parking and other infrastructure as far as practicable.