Discussing wheels

VERBAL VARIETY - Annie Fe Perez (The Freeman) - July 1, 2014 - 12:00am

Last Sunday morning, I was in awe to see our car travelling together with a group of bikers. It was unusual for me to look out the window and see a couple of men on bikes. I assumed they were already on their way home from a long ride up north. Regardless of the long distance they travelled, I noticed that they were enjoying their trail on the Cebu North Road.

Lucky they are, the roads they traversed up north are wide enough to enjoy the biking. However, if they reach the cities of Mandaue and Cebu, it will be a different story; the trail will be different for they will share the road with the motorists.

For me, there is no question about what biking can do to an individual and the society. In fact, it has proven to be a good exercise thus having numerous health benefits while lessening the already polluted metropolitan air.

When I was a kid, I loved biking along the subdivision roads while watching the sun set on a Saturday afternoon with my neighbors. But like most kids, my route was only limited to where it was safe and secure for the outside roads are not for recreational biking. True enough, there is much horror on the national highway for bikers. Apart from the fact that motorists never recognized them down the trail, the speed out there for an ordinary bike could hurl a biker off the lane in one sweep.

Earlier last week, a group of biking enthusiasts applauded Honorable Nida Cabrera's move to support a city ordinance creating bicycle lanes within the city of Cebu. I also know the city's roads well enough since I grew up having a life in the city. With the ordinance already given an initial push, I could only say that Cebu may have to work on a lot of factors before putting or rather painting bike lanes.

First, we do not have the luxury of space to have an additional space for bikes. My fingers are only enough to count the roads which possess a width of 11 to 12 meters. It is not a bad number but the roads that we have now are simply enough for the vehicles to pass by which relates to the second point that our roads need more improvement. I bet you could notice that there are cracks, holes and uneven surfaces on the roads, not to mention the areas that need flyovers to be installed as well as skywalks and drainage systems.

Lastly, there is a motorist culture that we all need to overhaul. People regard bikers as people who do not have the means to run on four wheels because they only have two. Apart from that stereotype, other motorists could not even follow simple traffic rules, how much more accepting a new sector onto the roads.

Yes, we need bike lanes because of the growing number of bikers and individuals who want to save on fare expense but the City must look into a speedy solution to the factors posed. There are always other alternatives if we have a small road like other countries have done. I believe there is a win-win situation to the issue.

While it is true that the roads belong to the people since they are created and improved through our taxes, some practical points must also be considered. I do not find it wrong to share what belongs to the rest but everyone must have a fair slice of that share. It is not that the idea is not feasible. It is just that what we have is not just ready for big move yet. Having bike lanes could be a reality but it could take time. Remember, good things happen to those who wait.

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