Freeman Cebu Business

Are we there yet? Pedal power

Back Seat Driver - The Freeman

CEBU, Philippines - Last week, the government and the public deliberated on the proposed ordinance to share the road with bicycles.  Numerous bicycle enthusiasts flocked to the venue to support the said ordinance.  During the hearing, numerous individuals pointed out the numerous advantages of adopting bicycle lanes and using bicycles as a mode of transport.  As pure as their intentions are, we have to look at the practical, responsible and logical side of adopting such a move.

First the practical.  As per the proposed ordinance, roads that are at least ten to twelve meters wide will allocate a portion of the width of that road, around one and a half meters, for the bicycle lane.  With the current road network, it would be possible to assign bicycle lanes at certain areas.  The only drawback to this is the fact that these multi-lane roads are also the busiest of roads.  From the multitude of private vehicles that ply the roads, to the irresponsible and reckless private utility vehicles, not to mention the equally reckless and brainless scooter drivers, placing bicycle lanes on this road is going to make it an even tighter squeeze during rush hour.  Believe you me, aside from sharing the road space, these cyclists will also be sharing our fears and frustrations everytime they ride.  Mixing one more type of vehicle in an already messy environment would further increase the chances of traffic collisions.

Speaking of traffic collisions, we go to the responsible aspect of things.  Putting up bicycle lanes in the metropolis is, by law, mandatory.  It is the government’s responsibility to implement this.  It is our responsibility to obey and respect it.  But we all know that this is all true in a perfect world, and we live in an incredibly skewed and imperfect world.  You have public utility drivers who stop at no stopping zones to pick up equally illiterate commuters who hail them at these areas.  You have scooter drivers who zip in and out of lanes just to get in front.  And you have your occasional egghead, private motorist who thinks he’s got the skills of a Formula One driver while inebriated with another kind of ‘formula.’  With the type of licensed drivers we have on the road, coupled with clueless and lazy traffic enforcers , I would highly recommend that cyclists drop their Tour de France inspired outfits in favor of armoured bio-suits equipped with airbags.

Lastly, the logical side of things.  Just like the current noise being made by the participants and fans of Formula One, going eco-friendly is good, but put it in the proper place.  Encouraging people to pedal to work is good.  It reduces carbon emissions while promoting a healthy lifestyle.  In essence, this is true.  Cycling keeps you fit and healthy.  And a fit body is essential for a long life.  Until you get sideswiped by the drugged up public utility driver, or your reckless and brainless truck driver.  So whatever long life you were looking forward to, ends right then and there. 

And let’s not forget about the road surfaces.  As bad as these poor excuse for roads are for the suspension of our motor vehicles, these are just as equally dangerous to the well-being of  the amateur cyclists.  A small pothole to us would be an obstacle course for them.  Whatever hazards we encounter on the road are multiplied tenfold for these cyclists.

Despite how impractical and dangerous it may be for now, having bike lanes is still a good idea.  Aside from the ecological and health benefits, it would allow our less-fortunate bretheren, whose only means of transportation is a bicycle, to travel to and from their workplace safely.  But until the government stops being totally inept in implementing the law, it would be safer to keep these bikes off the street and save the lives of many registered voters.




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