Is the City tone-deaf to bicycle commuters?
ALLEZ - JV Araneta (The Freeman) - June 8, 2020 - 12:00am

I don’t know if it was insensitivity or lack of empathy.

Last week, the Cebu City Transportation Office, “urged” bicycle owners to register their bicycles if they regularly use it. CCTO spokesperson Ronnie Nadera said that there is an ordinance that was passed 17 years ago about bicycle registration but it was, “not implemented extensively in the past as the city did not feel the need to regulate the use of bikes.”

Wow! Why create an ordinance when there is no need for it?

The reason to register and regulate, according to Nadera,  is because the CCTO have seen the “significant rise” of the use of this human powered machine during this pandemic. This reasoning smacks of a way of monetizing a cure for an ailment that the government wan’t prepared to treat in the first place.

Good thing Mayor Labella suspended it hours after the breaking news.

I have been riding bicycles for more than three decades now, not for transportation but for sports and recreation, and I remember back in the 1990’s when the Cebu City Government cracked down on unregistered bicycles. A friend of mine registered his aluminium TREK and to his horror, it was letter-punched by a CCTO employee against his protestations!!! It’s the law, he he was told. Branded frames have their own serial number but the ignorant employee simply hammered the numbers on my friend’s TREK. Good thing it didn’t break.

There are few points that I’d like to highlight here if Cebu City is really serious about bicycling as a form of transportation.

One, bicycle lanes. I know its a tough ask but just try to pretend that you are doing something about dedicated lanes for bicycles. Narrow and congested roads? I’m sure, we can work something out. It’s called political will. Second, how about traffic enforcement? How about clearing the roads from illegally parked vehicles, vendors and signages? Third, how about educating not only the cyclists but also the other road users? That roads are not exclusive to motorbikes and cars. Sharing is loving. Fourth, establishments should provide a safe parking for bicycles. Cyclists don’t need a token parking spaces like what you see at Robinsons Cybergate. Five, provide showers and rooms where workers can freshen up and change clothes or uniforms before and after work. Six, how about giving the bicycle riding employee a tax break or an incentive? Seven, invite bicycling groups for consultations. We’re the end users and our street level knowledge need to be heard. I’m sure there are a lot more points out there but those are just what came to mind.

Mayor Labella, rescind the bicycle registration ordinance. Its not about the fee, its just forty pesos and the city government will not be poorer for it. Its about being showing sensitivity and empathy to the poor folks who can’t afford a motorcycle or a car. Greenpeace and treehuggers will love you for it. Most of all, Cebuanos, will love you for it.

CCTO RONNIE NADERA
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