IN a show of unity, major cycling stakeholders in the country got together and called for the use of bicycles under the ‘new normal.’
The three top cycling supporters in the Philippines, namely the Lina Group of Companies under Bert Lina (Air21), Moe Chulani (LBC) of Ronda Pilipinas, and Jeremy Go of Go For Gold got the ball rolling Tuesday following an organizational meeting where they charted the route to make pedal bike a major mode of transportation during this COVID-19 quarantine period and beyond.
At the same time, the group sought the support of the government to establish the regulation of bike lanes in all national, city, and municipal roads.
“There is a need to develop a proof-of-concept (POC) design adopting the bike lanes that have already been launched,” said Lina, chairman of the Integrated Cycling Federation of the Philippines (PhilCycling). “The group could come up with a proposal to fix the existing bike lanes.”
Lina was joined by PhilCycling board of directors Chulani and Jun Lomibao in the teleconference.
Chulani noted bike lanes have already been established in Antipolo City, Iloilo City, Quezon City, Marikina City, Pasig City, among others, and stressed Ronda Pilipinas’ full support to the endeavor.
“Ronda Pilipinas launched two cycling lanes in Iloilo and Antipolo two years ago,” he said. “The bike lanes are maintained by private groups.”
Go added that configuration of bicycle lanes should prioritize the safety of riders.
“A separate bike lane must be created and cyclists must also learn to follow the traffic regulations,” he said.
Also in attendance were Le Tour de Filipinas president Donna Lina and race project manager Sunshine Joy Mendoza, 7-Eleven Cliqq Roadbike Philippines AIR21’s Ric Rodriguez, Lina chief of staff Titus Reyes and national team coaches Ednalyn Hualda (Go For Gold) and Reinhard Gorantes, also of Philippine Navy-Standard Insurance.
The dialogue marks the first time in Philippine cycling history that the sport’s major stakeholders, race organizers and team managers banded together, as the nation tries to curb the spread of the pandemic.
The concern regarding bicycle lanes is one of several objectives the group aims to accomplish. The other major concern is on how to instill a cycling culture in the community.
Rodriguez, citing the Indonesian model, said cities and municipalities should be encouraged to observe a regular cycling holiday when all motorized vehicles are banned in a particular area in favor of the bicycle at least one day each week.
The group said it will be supporting congress’ efforts favoring the use of bicycles.
Representatives Karlo Nograles and Jericho Jonas Nograles filed in 2016 House Bill No. 174 that seeks the creation of the Local Bikeways Office while Senator Pia Cayetano filed last week Senate Bill 1518 that aims to establish a network of pop-up bicycle lanes and pathways during the pandemic.
The stakeholders said they also hope Senator Francis Tolentino revive the cycling advocacy he established when he was chairman of the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority.
Lina also pinpointed the Central Luzon State University as a potential pilot venue for the advocacy.
The group would be creating a data base of cycling clubs and organizations to expand the advocacy’s reach, as well as connect the effort with the Philippine Olympic Committee and the Philippine Sports Commission.