Scrap the Bike Lanes

ALLEZ - Jose Vicente ‘JV’ Araneta (The Freeman) - February 15, 2021 - 12:00am

Bike lanes are part and parcel of a modern city. While some parts of Cebu are now modern, its charms from the past the small and narrow streets built a long time ago. I had always hoped that Cebu City would be a bike friendly city, with bike lanes,  friendly car drivers and helpful cops who’d keep the traffic flawless.

One of the early adaptors of bike lanes (BL), done with so much fanfare, was the city of Marikina some years ago. Unfortunately, it failed. Then a few years after that, I received an email inviting me to join a local bike advocacy group whose main agenda was BLs. After a few minutes of thought I decided that it wasn’t the best solotion so I respectfully declined. I don’t know what happened to that group, but obviously, they were not able to convince the city to put up BLs.

Fast forward last year, and covid changed our lives. The bicycle then became one of the hottest property to own, because of certain restrictions like travel to work and exercise.

As early as middle of last year, Mandaue City, came up with the first BLs in Cebu in a bid to help frontliners move in the absence of public transport. Talisay City followed suit and later Cebu City. I can’t say much about the Mandaue BL’s since I rarely set my tire tracks there. Talisay City is actually very strict in their implementation of their bike lanes. My attention have been called twice from the men in green for my silly mistakes which I immediately apologized.

The BL’s in Cebu City, in some places are wider then Talisay’s BLs, which is great. But the sorry thing is that there is no enforcement of the rules regarding its use. That is why these BL’s have become carwash areas, parking areas, street vending areas, well you can include pre-BL potholes and manholes. With no BL education on the people involved (cyclists, drivers, pedestrians, business etc.,) on its implementation, it was doomed to fail at this early.

With every cyclists’ mistake that’s caught on video posted on social media, even small things can be blown out of proportion. Pro’s and con’s of bike lanes, some egregious and some level headed, have been posted, dissected and fought over. Drivers think that cyclists occupy too much road and slow them down while cyclists think that drivers simply don’t give them enough space to ride securely.

And with clearly no action from the city, it surely has to come to a head. And that is to scrap the the BL’s. If the city is not implementing the law seriously and stand idly until something bad happens, then this needs to be dismantled. Keeping it as it is will only create more tension and possible road rage among its users.

There is a time and place for BLs, and unfortunately for Cebu City, this is not it. We have too cars and too few kilometers of road. My solution is simple: Road Sharing. I have always believed that sharing the road is the best rule in our streets, complimented with strict and fair implementation of traffic laws.

 So don’t laugh about it. Think.

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