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Put bicycle lanes, gov't urged

A lawmaker proposed a bill that establishes bicycle lanes in the country. File Photo

MANILA, Philippines -  A lawmaker has filed a bill that will put bicycle lanes in all primary and secondary roads in the country.

The Bicycle Lane Act of 2015 as proposed in House Bill 5810 seeks to ensure the safety of those who are using bicycle as mode of transportation.

Rep. Samuel Pagdilao of party-list ACT-CIS authored HB 5810 because he wants the urgency of establishing a viable solution for road safety that will also protect the bicycle-using labor force from injuries and deaths.

Pagdilao, who is also the Vice Chairman of House Committee on Public Order and Safety, said the bicycle-using labor force has rarely been given attention since they are from the marginalized sector that has limited power to influence government actions.

According to Pagdilao, 87 percent of the labor force, equivalent to 37.917 million Filipinos, choose bicycle as the primary mode of transportation based on the 2013 National Labor Force Survey.

“Many of these Filipinos are construction workers, messengers, and other low income earners who pedal to work everyday not necessarily to promote a healthy environment but merely to cut the cost of their transportation expenses,” Pagdilao said.

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Pagdilao also cited that the number of bicyclists involved in road accidents is already alarming with 37 percent or 6,496 of the 17,557 killed in the country’s road accidents in 2011.

“In Metro Manila, 7,464 families of disabled cyclists were plunged deeper into poverty because their breadwinners have been maimed and are no longer capable to work,” Pagdilao explained.

HB 5810 mandates establishment of Local Bikeways Office (LBO) which shall be directly administered and supervised by the Local Government Units (LGUs).

Under the measure, the LBO in consultation with the Department of Transportation and Communication shall designate bicycle lanes in all primary and secondary roads separated by clearly painted and visible bicycle lane markers shall be exclusively used by bicycle riders.

With HB 5810, the LBO and other government and non-government agencies shall create a National Bike Awareness Program, which shall include activities to increase education and awareness of the general public on the proper use of bicycle lanes, bike safety and observance of traffic rules and regulations since cyclist will not be exempted from traffic violations.

Cyclists must follow the traffic rules and regulations which include not carrying more persons and cargo other than their bicycle is equipped to carry. They are ordered to use safety gears such as helmet, elbow, and knee pads that shall be worn at all times.

If bicycle riders fail to abide by the traffic rules and regulations applicable to them, they will be fined more than 1,000 pesos. However, if their violation causes injury to persons and damage to property, the provisions of the Civil Code and Revised Penal Code shall be applied.

For more proposed acts in the House of Representatives, visit our Bill Tracker.

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