CYCLISTS all over the country are set to kick the campaign for a bicycle-friendly Philippines into high gear with the staging of the first National Bicycle Day on November 23.
Head coordinator Karen Silva Crisostomo said the event, which will have six bike rides held simultaneously around the country, will send the message of how much better the country would be if bikes, and not cars, are the kings of the road.
“On that day, there will be people cycling in Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao. People will see a car-less Philippines. On that day the air will be cleaner. There will be no traffic. They can get from city to city in minutes. Whereas if they are going to be in their car, that is not going to happen," Crisostomo told SPIN.ph.
The National Capital Region will be two: a North Route passing through the cities of Manila (San Juan, Manila, Navotas, Malabon, Caloocan, Quezon City, Marikina, Pasig) with a start-off point at the Greenhills Shopping Center; while the South Route passes through the cities of Manila (Pasig, Taguig, Paranaque, Muntinlupa, Las Pinas, Pasay, Makati, Mandaluyong) with start-off point at Tiendesitas. Both routes will end in Tiendesitas.
Apart from Metro Manila, there will be four simultaneous rides in Central Luzon (Pampanga), Northern Luzon (Vigan City), Visayas (Iloilo City) and Mindanao (Davao City).
Registration is not required to join any of the parades and anyone can join for free for the Sunday rides, although wearing a helmet is mandatory.
“Everywhere we go - running errands, going to school or work - our first instinct is to jump inside our cars. We want to change that into, ‘No. I’m going to take the bicycle.’” said Crisostomo.
With daily and time-consuming traffic gridlocks becoming the general scene all over Philippine cities, bicycling is viewed as a viable alternative to driving a car, commuting in a jeep/bus or enduring long lines to take the crowded MRT/LRT to get to one’s destination.
To address the issue, the Department of Natural Resources (DENR), through the Environment Management Bureau (EMB) and the National Bicycle Organization (NBO), has petitioned the Office of the President to declare the month of November as National Bicycle Month and every fourth Sunday of November as National Bicycle Day.
Advocates maintain the bicycle is not only good for the environment but is also a solution to our current transportation woes. They also consider it an efficient and fun way to get around, avoid getting stuck in traffic while providing an opportunity to exercise in order to stay healthy without having to make the extra time to work out.
In the political front, senators JV Ejercito, Bam Aquino and Pia Cayetano have expressed their support for bicycle-friendly legislation.