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Transport

To Make Iloilo City’s Bike Lanes Successful

Our city is not as rich as equated to its plans of becoming the Most Bike-Friendly City in the Philippines. We must admit that. Despite of how much we desire to have protected bike lanes such as those in Sydney or having bicycles as part of our daily lives like the people of Japan, we simply cannot afford to have the same facilities that they have.

Our city is not as rich as equated to its plans of becoming the Most Bike-Friendly City in the Philippines. We must admit that. Despite of how much we desire to have protected bike lanes such as those in Sydney or having bicycles as part of our daily lives like the people of Japan, we simply cannot afford to have the same facilities that they have.

Our city is not as rich as equated to its plans of becoming the Most Bike-Friendly City in the Philippines. We must admit that. Despite of how much we desire to have protected bike lanes such as those in Sydney or having bicycles as part of our daily lives like the people of Japan, we simply cannot afford to have the same facilities that they have.

However, we can go around with that and make the most of what we have. These painted bike lanes and several facilities to complement them can either be useful or useless depending on how Ilonggos would make use of them. Here’s how I would sort out our roles in making sure our facilities are as effective as those in rich countries.

The Vehicle Owners

Vehicle owners have flashy cars and in fact, this pandemic has also resulted to a surge of vehicles as most of those who still have jobs (and could afford) have bought cars. As vehicle owners, the most prudent thing to do is to be responsible of where to park their cars. Those green lanes are not for you. You can probably just stop for a moment to drop of passengers but definitely it is not a place to park or to leave you car with a flashing hazard light.

The Pedestrians

Pedestrians need to also take precaution when they are on the road. The green lanes are not waiting areas. If you want to stay at the roadside, make sure you are standing on the sidewalk. And when you cross the street (this protects you and your rights), make use of the pedestrian lanes. The Iloilo City Government as well as the Department of Public Works and Highways have provided a lot of these facilities in Iloilo City.

The Roadside Ambulant Vendors

Business is hard these days and you are not alone. Most bike commuters are also resorting to bike commuting to ensure their safety from the treacherous coronavirus and to save extra money from their income. Please do not stay at the green lanes. There are more appropriate places where you can position your mobile kiosks.

The Local Government

First of all, thank you for actively supporting the development of the bike commuting culture in the city. It is the envy of other growing cities in the Philippines and they simply cannot copy it. Not only does it reduce the air and noise pollution in the growing city but it also provides a safer and healthier means of transport around the city.

However, we need to ensure that rules govern these bike lanes to favor not just the bike commuters but also the vehicle owners, the pedestrians, the ambulant vendors, in short, everyone.

First, in terms of safer mobility within the city, it is only prudent that roads with bike lanes should have speed limits for vehicles. This is to ensure a more forgiving road crash should it happen. Most countries with interesting bike cultures have speed limits of at most 30 kilometers per hour. This minimizes the likelihood of fatal road crashes and makes sure of the alertness of both drivers and bike commuters. This also benefits pedestrians since they have more time to be alert when crossing the street.

The city should craft an ordinance that would take effect in all bike lanes – and should not be selective.

Second, there should be a clear definition of how the bike lanes should function. Can cars park there? How much would be the fine? How will public utility vehicles be managed when they pick up and drop off passengers? On the bike commuters, what safety gear should they be wearing and what will be the penalty for violating such? These questions would have to be answered. Not to mention, the city should craft an ordinance that would take effect in all bike lanes – and should not be selective. Thus, the ordinances that are in effect at present should be consolidated and updated into just one ordinance to avoid confusion in interpretations.

Third, when the new ordinance is crafted there should be information and education campaign materials across various channels (with priority to social media, since it will cost less), to promote bike commuting as well as to inform the public of the rules governing the fair use of the bike lanes. Also, to enhance its capacity to monitor the use of the bike lanes, and from one of the inputs I got from a netizen, the city should have a dedicated social media account where people could send complaints or photos of violators.

These are just a few random thoughts that I have since we already have painted bike lanes and we can only do our part to make it successful. I also did some research and some cities abroad do not even have painted bike lanes. They just have better disciplined road users who have the awareness of sharing access and mobility whether we are pedestrians, bike commuters, or drivers. If we aspire a successful bike-friendly city, then we should all cooperate and do our share.

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