Senate bill seeking to establish safe, convenient pathways for bikers and pedestrians hurdles final reading

The Senate has approved on third and final reading the bill which seeks to provide safe and convenient pathways for pedestrians, bikers, and non-motorized vehicles.

WORKERS ride bicycles to and from work in Iloilo City which is touted as one of the country’s ‘bike-friendly’ cities. (Photo by Tara Yap)

Senate Bill No. 1290, also known as the “Walkable and Bikeable Communities Act,” and which was sponsored by Sen. Pia Cayetano, was passed by the Upper Chamber with 21 affirmative votes, no abstention, and zero negative vote on Tuesday night, September 27.

Cayetano, who chairs the Senate Committee on the Sustainable Development Goals, Innovation, and Futures Thinking, said passage of the bill into law would help ease road congestion and reduce carbon emission.

It would also provide multiple health benefits to the public, she said.

The senator noted that more Filipinos had taken to cycling, especially after lockdowns were imposed on public transportation due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

As a result, she noted bike lane networks were set up nationwide to facilitate active mobility, and these facilities continue to be expanded as the economy has opened up.

Other principal authors of the bill include Senators Grace Poe, Joseph Victor “JV” Ejercito, Jinggoy Estrada, Ramon Bong Revilla Jr., Sonny Angara, Ronald “Bato” Dela Rosa, Christopher Lawrence "Bong" Go, Majority Leader Joel Villanueva, and Senate President Pro Tempore Loren Legarda.

Once passed into law, both the public and private sectors are obliged to promote active transport as a sustainable and healthy means of transportation and develop the Safe Pathways Network by setting up the necessary infrastructure facilities and programs such as multi-use racks and other end-of-trip facilities.