DOTr plan: Pedestrians, bikers get top priority | Inquirer News

DOTr plan: Pedestrians, bikers get top priority

/ 05:30 AM December 23, 2022

Bikers on a bike line in Quezon City. STORY: DOTr plan: Pedestrians, bikers get top priority

BIKING FOR MOTHER EARTH | Bikers promote environment-friendly and safe transportation in a “pedal for people and planet” campaign in Quezon City on June 5 this year. (INQUIRER FILE PHOTO)

MANILA, Philippines — Bikers and pedestrians would be given the “highest priority” among road users with the government building them dedicated and safer lanes and wider sidewalks in the next six years, according to the Department of Transportation (DOTr).

This is part of the Philippine Development Plan (PDP) 2022-2028, which has been approved by the National Economic and Development Authority, the DOTr said in a statement on Wednesday.


The DOTr announcement came on the heels of a report last month by Move as One Coalition about the alarming number of road accidents involving bikers in Metropolitan Manila which led to the death of an average of 26 cyclists yearly from 2017 to 2021.


“The expansion and improvement of the country’s transportation system to be safe, convenient, accessible, modern and efficient … form part of the [PDP’s] top priority,” the DOTr said.

Transportation Undersecretary Steven Pastor said that like car riders, “our cyclists also have a right on our roads.”

“They are vulnerable as compared to our motorists, so it’s incumbent for the government to provide proper infrastructure for their safety,” he said.

Pastor said that amid the pandemic, the DOTr did not have a team focused on introducing programs for active mobility.

The initial five members from various agencies that pushed for bike lanes had grown to 30 members, Pastor said during the celebration of the National Bicycle Day on Nov. 27 in Makati City.

Biker deaths, injuries

On the same occasion, Move as One Coalition reported that 130 people died and 6,405 were injured from 2017 to 2021 while cycling in Metro Manila, citing figures from the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA).


“For the past five years, an average of 26 people on bicycles died and 1,281 suffered injuries every year,” the group said, adding that streets in the national capital have become “death traps” for people on bicycles.

The MMDA recorded 24 cases of bicycle-related deaths each year in 2017 and 2018.

The number of bikers killed decreased in 2019 to 19, but rose sharply to 30 in 2020 and to 33 in 2021—the first two years of the pandemic when more people were using bicycles to get around. In 2021, 22 of the deaths were due to collisions, including hit-and-run incidents.

From 1,045 in 2019, the nonfatal bicycle-related injuries rose to 1,824 cases in 2020, a 74.5 percent rise, according to the MMDA.

Bicycles became a favored means of transportation, especially for the poor and the lower middle class who did not have their own cars or motorcycles during the first months of the pandemic when public transportation was restricted.

Pastor said that aside from upgrading and maintaining the existing bike lanes, the DOTr intended to build another 234 kilometers of bike lanes across eight regions, construct speed tables (midblock traffic calming devices) and a bike bridge, and develop a bike share system.

He noted that more than three years ago, there was “less support” from the national government to active transportation. But through the DOTr’s efforts, the country now has 564 km of bike lanes nationwide.

Metro Manila network

In Metro Manila, 378 kilometers of “protected bike lanes” have been completed as of May 2022 by the DOTr and the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH).

In April, the DPWH inaugurated the 48.90-km South and the 17.20-km East Metro Manila Bike Lane Network. These lanes connect to the 313-km Metro Manila Bike Lane Network, which was built at the cost of P801.8 million and opened in July last year.

The East, or Marikina Bike Lane Network, has an overall length of 17.20 km and links the 8.72-km General Ordoñez Avenue to the 1.90-km Liwasang Kalayaan, the 3.92-km J. Molina, Scarlet, and Russet Streets, and the 2.64-km Park Creek, from St. Vincent Hospital to Marikina Rehabilitation Center.

The South bike lane network includes the 16.87-km Quirino Avenue-San Antonio Avenue roadway via Naia Road, Ninoy Aquino Road and Parañaque-Sucat Road; the 21.83-km Carlos P. Garcia Ext. to Bridgeway Avenue/North Bridgeway via Diego Cera Avenue and Alabang-Zapote Road in Muntinlupa; and the 10.20-km Investment Drive to Portofino Heights roadway via Daang Hari Road in Las Piñas.

According to DPWH regulations, a bike lane is a portion of a road that has been designated for preferential or exclusive use by persons on bicycles or light mobility vehicles. It is identified by pavement markings, physical separator or signs and is intended for one-way travel, usually in the same direction as the adjacent traffic lane, unless designed as a contra-flow lane or two-directional.

Trending topic

The issue of safe bike lanes recently became a trending topic on social media after voice talent Inka Magnaye posted on Facebook that bike lanes as constructed were “annoying” and dangerous.

“They didn’t create extra space, it was just carved out of a car lane. It still isn’t safe for riders,” she said in a now-deleted post.

She recalled having to “counterflow a little bit” on the opposite lane to drive past a bicycle on a lane that was half the width of a regular car lane.

Some commenters misunderstood what she meant and, thinking that she was against bicycles and bike lanes, criticized her.

Magnaye — hers is the sprightly voice that welcomes passengers on Philippine Airlines flights — responded on her Facebook page on Thursday, lamenting over some of the “knee-jerk” reactions.

“I never said I didn’t want bike lanes but some of you guys keep insisting on going with that. I said I found our bike lanes annoying because it wasn’t done well, like an afterthought, which is dangerous for bikers and cars and others,” she said. “Bike lanes NEED to actually be their own lanes, separate from car lanes.”

Magnaye’s first posts were in reaction to a post from motoring journalist James Deakin, who suggested redesigning the bike lanes and making them “truly segregated and safe,” otherwise just “scrap the whole idea and give that half lane back to the cars.”

Being a cyclist himself, he clarified that he supported bike lanes but that they were not “how we want the lanes to be.”

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A commenter defended Magnaye, saying that she “was actually against the creation of bike lanes that are ‘carved out of a car lane,’ because it does not solve any issue and still exposes both drivers and bikers to potential harm. She’s for well-planned roads with integrated bike and pedestrian infrastructure.”



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