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Lawmakers push for bike lane networks for frontliners, safe parking spaces

Several senators are pushing for the establishment of complimentary infrastructures that would encourage the use of bicycles in the Philippines amid the COVID-19 situation.

Senator Pia Cayetano on Friday said a network of bike lanes must be set up around hospitals to give health workers easier mobility.

This was aligned with the proposal brought up by University of the Philippines' College of Medicine professor Dr. Antonio Dans to prioritize creating a "loop" of bike passageways that would improve accessibility of various hospitals in Metro Manila for biking health workers.

“We hope that our policymakers, the local government units, and even officials at the executive branch, would give us this option to get to work safely during the COVID-19 crisis and after," Dans said during a Senate hearing on Thursday.

Senate President Pro Tempore Ralph Recto also pushed for the establishment of safe parking spaces for bikes.

"It is not enough that we set aside passageways for bicycles. We should also see to it that the public places they're going to have spots where they can leave their bikes safely," he said in a separate statement Friday.

"Maraming bikers ngayon na hindi gaanong nababahala habang pumapadyak sa kalsada, pero takot na manakaw ang bisikleta nila habang ito'y nakaparada," he added.

Senator Francis Tolentino, former chair of the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority, also asked for a review of the previous ordinances passed by local government units on the creation of safe spaces for bikers.

"Encouraging Filipinos to ride their bicycles to work would greatly help address the impending transportation woes once the MECQ in Metro Manila is lifted," he said.

Earlier this month, the Department of Transportation acknowledged that two-wheel vehicles will play an important role in commuters' daily routine once the community quarantines have been lifted.

It also underscored that aside from creating safe bike lanes, solving the problem of smoke belching and improving land use plans would ensure the long-term sustainability of the use of bicycles. --KBK, GMA News