DILG to order establishment of bike lanes as PH gears up for 'new normal'

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, May 28)— The Interior Department on Thursday said it will order local government units to roll out bike lanes for residents in preparation for the country's "new normal" measures amid the COVID-19 crisis.

Speaking to CNN Philippines, Interior Secretary Eduardo Año said the government is encouraging citizens to consider bicycles as the new primary mode of transportation— given its numerous advantages.

"'Yung bicycle, pino-promote natin na maging primary mode of transportation. Magu-utos ulit tayo sa lahat ng LGUs, mag-establish ng bike lanes sa lahat ng mga thoroughfares," Año said in an interview with The Source.

[Translation: We're promoting bicycle as our primary mode of transportation. We will also order our LGUs to establish bike lanes in all thoroughfares.]

"In this new normal, we want to encourage everyone to use bikes. Very safe ang bikes, at tsaka, matipid pa. Hindi mo na kailangang bumili ng gasolina," he added.

[Translation: In this new normal, we want to encourage everyone to use bikes. Bikes are very safe, and one can save up by using this mode of transport. You won't need to buy gas.]

Interior Undersecretary Ricojudge Echiverri said that their department has issued show cause letters to LGUs who failed to clear their roads.

Echiverri said this in a House hearing on transportation Thursday, after a number of lawmakers raised the issue of clearing car lanes that are currently being used as parking lots, to make way for bicycles.

The Transportation Department has earlier eyed bikes as one alternative mode of transport, saying transmission of the infectious disease can be better contained or prevented with the help of one-passenger vehicles.

Solons have drafted different House bills to be consolidated on creating a “protective” infrastructure for the biking community and the commuting public, who are now eyeing biking as a transport option.

According to the Metro Manila Development Authority, the safety of bikers is their priority, that’s why they placed bike lanes within sidewalks on major roads.

“yong mga naka salang na bills (the pending bills), they cover the concerns of bikers and commuters. This includes integrating cycling as a viable and safe mode of transportation for the public,” said Antonio Tinio

Tinio is a resource person during the House hearing and a long-time cyclist. He said he has high hopes for the bills discussed to be consolidated as soon as possible.

READ: Worth the ride? How bikes are becoming a transport option under the new normal

Advocate groups have pushed for the establishment of bike lanes in major thoroughfares including EDSA, noting how more bikers and scooter riders are expected to hit the road during this time of crisis.

DOTr, for its part, said it is also working on designated bike lanes in main roads.

The MMDA meanwhile cautioned bikers to stay safe on the roads by always wearing protective gear and refraining from keeping at pace with bigger and private vehicles.