Thousands of commuters are using bicycles to go to places like their workplace, their number now at about 100,000 cyclists in June and 77,000 in July along EDSA alone, a group of bike commuter advocates said citing the latest tally of the Metro Manial Development Authority (MMDA).
“This is not a surprise for us. Many people in Metro Manila cycle every day. We just don’t see them because we don’t count them,” said Aldrin Pelicano, founder of MNL Moves, a cycling community group.
MNL Moves and the Institute for Climate and Sustainable Cities said the MMDA count should also include pedestrian and bicyclist data to the annual average data traffic.
The figures will be useful to better protect cyclists because those will give a better understanding of the existing usage and in predicting future travel, they said.
The MMDA figures were released in time for the first International Day of Clean Air for Blue Skies on Sept. 7.
The groups pointed out that the MMDA’s regular bicycle count was limited to the locations of its bike paths in the intersections of EDSA and Ortigas Avenue, Commonwealth Avenue and Roxas Boulevard, where the July bike count was undertaken. The count recorded 77,484 cyclists overall with an average of 2,457 cyclists per day.
The June count, which was undertaken in the same intersections including Aurora Boulevard, Shaw Boulevard, and Taft Avenue, registered 100,792 cyclists overall, with an average of 4,060 cyclists per day.
“These cyclists are also our frontliners. Out of necessity and for lack of public transport options, they took up cycling to provide us with essential services and attend to patients. Unknowingly, their acts contributed to cleaner air,” Pelicano said.
“We hope to make their journeys safer, but we also want to make our roads safer, our skies clearer and our cities healthier even after this pandemic,” he added.
Pelicano urged the national and local government officials to work double time to build safe and connected bicycle lane networks in Metro Manila in order to protect the cycling citizens.
“Whether it’s one person or a hundred thousand, each cyclist deserves to reach their destination safely and comfortably,” he said.
Data from the Department of Environment and Natural Resources’ National Emissions Inventory from 2018 to 2015 shows that 65 percent of nationwide air pollutants come from mobile sources such as cars, motorcycles, trucks and buses.
In the National Capital Region alone, 88 percent of the air pollution comes from mobile sources.