This thing against bicycles
STREETLIFE - Nigel Paul Villarete (The Freeman) - September 17, 2019 - 12:00am

Promoting the use of bicycles for transportation is a continuing struggle. The advocacy focuses on the acceptance of bicycles as a mode of mobility, particularly in going to work. From a governance perspective, bikes are dismissed, together with walking I may say – they are not even included as a mode of transport under government classifications.  People look at it as weird when others go to work on bicycles.  We forget that walking, and biking, should not be considered as “alternative modes of transport,” – they were the primary ones before the others came in.

But “non-motorized transport” has been gaining wide acceptance worldwide in the last two decades.  In fact, former President Gloria Arroyo has ordered in 2008 to reform the transportation sector, with a new paradigm in the movement of men and things, which must follow a simple principle: “Those who have less in wheels must have more on the road.”  PGMA ordered: “the system shall favor non-motorized locomotion and collective transportation systems (walking, bicycling, and the man-powered mini-train).” (Sec. 9a, EO 774, 2008 and Sec. 4a, AO 254, 2009). Until today, these orders were never revoked.

The recent issue(s) on the bicycle ban on the Mandaue-Mactan bridges touched a chord with this writer not because I was formerly involved with these two bridges but because I am a bicycle rider, and more so, a bicycle rider to work.  I admit I have never crossed the bridges in going to Mactan, but the reasons used, especially the legal ones, affect me and thousands of other cyclists in Cebu. LTO said that bikes are not allowed on bridges, and later, on record that, “bikes, by law, are also not allowed on flyovers AND national roads.”  So, I asked on Facebook if anyone can point out these laws.  So far, nobody responded except one who said, RA 4136.  But I cannot find any provision therein which ban prohibited bikes from bridges, flyovers, and national roads.

Of course, it matters because, when I bike to the City Hall before, I partly pass through national roads, and at least one bridge.  There are thousands of bikers in Cebu and they have to pass through bridges all the time.  Much more so from the province, I have friends who bike from Minglanilla to Cebu City to work – how many bridges do they need to cross?  Don’t mind me, but there are thousands of Cebuanos who go to work on bikes every day.  Wouldn’t it be discriminatory if we prohibit them from using the road/bridges just so the people driving cars would have a faster ride?

When DPWH design roads and bridges, they design it for all modes, because under the Constitution, all Filipinos are equal.  The only exception I know is when DPWH design specific roads and bridges as limited access facilities.  As of the moment, both bridges are not.  So, unless there are specific laws prohibiting bikes and pedestrians on the roads and bridges, I most respectfully plead with MCBMB to please allow us, to use the two bridges, on behalf of Cebuanos who use bicycles to work.

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