IF not for the Covid-19 pandemic, the government would have not realized the need for an exclusive lane for bicycles which has evolved from just being a hobby to an essential tool for thousands of employees cycling their way to work and back home.
After more than three years, the eagerness of the government significantly dropped in an apparent effort to give way to infrastructure boom designed to congest traffic congestion in Metro Manila’s major thoroughfares – including (but not limited) to EDSA and Commonwealth Avenue.
Whatever happened to the Department of Transportation’s mothballed construction of 313.12 kilometers of bike lanes in Metro Manila?
According to the Social Weather Station (SWS), roughly 2.6 million family heads are biking their way to and from work.
To be clear, bike lanes are still there but the infrastructure that would provide safe bike lanes has been reduced to more like a politician’s campaign promise.
To be perfectly honest, the so-called bike lanes that we have in Metro Manila are definitely not the type that could save lives. Yeah, luminous yellow paints or even the plastic bollards can not keep the bikers safe from being hit by a much bigger vehicle.
Moreover, there’s no cohesive effort among Metro Manila cities, the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA), the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) and the DOTr which espoused this idea.
Some cities even reverted their bike lanes to general traffic. There are a handful which opted for road sharing. In short, no connectivity.
For one, permanent and protected bike lanes remain insufficient, and fail to provide a useful network for bike commuters.
To some biking communities, the quality of bike lanes is substandard and risks the safety of users with the tight spaces, and numerous potholes and obstructions – not to mention the inability of the government to ensure unobstructed bike lanes.
During rush hour, even wider roads are not safe since motorists will occupy even the bike lane. Protected bike lanes are still the best in any city. They give the impression that the bike lanes are exclusive and should not be used by motor vehicles.
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