Press Release
August 15, 2011

'Biking senator' pushes bill promoting bike lanes,
'earth-friendly' transportation

Bicycle lanes that were pioneered in Marikina City and are now being initiated through local ordinances in Pasig City and Davao City, may soon be a common feature in major thoroughfares and streets nationwide.

Establishing bicycle lanes and encouraging public and private establishments to put up bike racks and parking areas are among the objectives of Senate Bill No.2936, the 'Sustainable Transportation Act of 2011,' recently filed by Senator Pia S. Cayetano, an avid biker herself.

"SBN 2396 seeks to promote biking, walking as well as other sustainable and alternative modes of transportation that will not only reduce air pollution and traffic congestion, but will also encourage people to adopt a healthy lifestyle," said the senator, who is also known for leading bike tours across the country to promote her advocacies on health, environment and women empowerment.

"The fuel used to run cars and motor vehicles is costing the Philippines more than P1 billion a day. Our dependency on imported fossil fuels has a multiplier effect on the prices of or basic commodities, goods and services," she stressed.

"The heavy reliance on motor vehicles also promotes an unhealthy lifestyle as the public becomes more and more sedentary, refusing to walk or bike even short distances. In practically all of the major cities of the country, this is causing terrible traffic congestion, unnecessary stress, and even countless accidents."

"It is high time that we revisit this way of thinking and lifestyle or else our environment and health continue to suffer. There has to be a balance that will enable people's transport needs to be met in a way that neither harms them nor depletes resources. "

Cayetano's measure mandates the Department of Transportation and Communication (DOTC) to come up with a 'Sustainable Transport Action Plan' which will encourage a 'mode shift' and promote programs and infrastructure towards developing sustainable and alternative modes of transport.

SBN 2936 seeks to designate a portion of the roadway or highway as "bike lanes" by local government units (LGUs) having jurisdiction over such roadway or highway, in coordination with the Department of Public Works and Highways.

The designated bike lanes will be for the preferential or exclusive use of bicycles and made identifiable with signage and pavement markings. The bike lanes should not be obstructed by a parked or standing motor vehicle or other stationary object. On the other hand, private and public establishments will be encouraged to designate bicycle parking spaces and bike racks for people travelling on bikes.

Another program is the establishment of adequate sidewalks and walkways to allow safe pedestrian passage and for the safe and convenient use of wheelchairs, strollers and similar instruments. The bill also mandates the DOTC to come up with guidelines that will promote a shift towards public transportation as a primary mobility option to the general public.

SBN 2936 likewise envisions the creation of a 'Bus Rapid Transit System' which will organize buses into one efficient long-distance transportation system with coordinated schedules, rates, routes, and pick-up and drop-off points. LGUs and the private sector will be tapped to use existing facilities such as parks, parking lots and bus depots to serve as large collective transportation terminals where people can park their cars and bikes and take the buses to their destinations.

As much as practicable, national agencies and water regulatory bodies in charge of a water body led by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), in coordination with the DOTC, will also be made to explore the establishment of a ferry system in navigable bodies of water.

Cayetano added: "There are different available mobility options that our government can explore in order to serve our people's changing transport needs, declog the streets and improve our efficiency as a nation - walking, cycling, and use of public transportation, among others."

"The government must provide for the creation of a safe, convenient, inexpensive, collective, efficient, non-congestive, non-pollutive, and healthful locomotion and transportation system for the benefit of the Filipino people."

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