WITH the amount of vehicular traffic and congested mass transport systems in Metro Manila reaching crisis proportions, maybe it’s time to look for viable alternatives.
Bicycle groups such as the Firefly Brigade and the Tiklop Society of the Philippines (TSP) have advocated the use of bimodal transportation (using bikes and trains for example) as a means of commuting around the metropolis, similar to the practice adopted by cities in the US and Europe.
Unknown to many, cyclists can actually bring folding bikes inside the trains of the LRT and MRT lines, provided the wheels are not more than 20 inches in diameter. The TSP-led initiative even helped provide the train stations with guidelines and proper procedures.
Proponents note that aside from being more efficient and environment-friendly, bicycles offer a smaller carbon footprint compared to that of a car.
Advocates also reason that if more people bike and use mass transport systems to reach their destinations, there will be less cars that would translate to less traffic, less amounts of pollution and more livable cities.
Bike commuters will also benefit since the exercise would translate to better health and lower stress levels.
The Firefly Brigade recently launched “Bike to Work Wednesdays” early this month to encourage bike owners and companies to try out bike commuting for employees.
As part of the campaign, the Firefly Brigade will provide free basic urban riding and road etiquette lessons on every second Sunday of the month starting January, 2014 at the UP Diliman AS Parking lot from 3 to 6pm. They also provide tips on finding route guides as well as a buddy program.
“People don’t realize it but you and I are breathing in the same kind of air but you’re breathing it longer because you’re sitting in your car stuck in traffic for two hours, it took me ten minutes to get to work. And you get to stay fit, very fit," said Firefly officer Karen Silva-Crisostomo.
Some useful tips for bikers on the road: