Press Release
February 1, 2021


Sen. Grace Poe is hopeful that the passage of the "Safe Pathways Act" on third reading will lead the 'road to recovery' to resolve the current problem of long lines due to limited public transportation in the pandemic and the long-standing problem of unfriendly roads.

"Our roads are so unfriendly to people that those who want to walk or ride a bike to work feel discouraged to do so because they are not given a designated lane that will guarantee their safety," said Poe who authored and co-sponsored the bill.

"In fact, our sidewalks aren't even enough to accommodate lines of commuters so they end up dangerously occupying some lanes of the road. How can we expect people to follow if we don't provide the necessary infrastructure?" stressed Poe.

The bill encourages and accommodates the use of non-motorized vehicles such as walking, bicycles, and small-wheeled non-motorized transport like skateboards and push scooters. Such modes of transportation will still be subject to existing traffic laws, rules and regulations as well as their corresponding penalties for violations.

"The pandemic compelled us to reinvent and reenvision a transportation system that is less dependent on motorized vehicles and roads that are safer for people," said Poe.

The Department of Transportation (DOTr), Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH), in coordination with local government units (LGUs), will be working together to establish the safe pathways network where pop-up bicycle lanes will be designated to directly connect commuters to essential destinations such as medical facilities and schools.

"As the economy slowly opens up and we're anticipating the arrival of the vaccines within the month, we look forward to schools eventually opening their doors once again. Our goal is to clear up the road to recovery by then where obstructions would have been removed and existing structures improved," she said.

The LGUs shall also create a designated network of people-oriented emergency pathways along local roads that motorized vehicles are not allowed to use during peak hours.

In the long run, the DOTr, DPWH, and the Department of the Interior and Local Government will prepare to permanently adopt the established bicycle lanes and emergency pathways, as may be appropriate and practicable.

"This bill goes beyond the pandemic and the wellbeing of commuters. It is also pursuant to our commitment to the Sustainable Development Goals to reduce carbon emissions and using less energy and resources to build more sustainable cities and communities," explained Poe.

The DPWH is also tasked to revise its manuals and guidelines for road design and construction to include non-motorized vehicles in the allocation of road space on both national and local roads in order to promote the safety of pedestrians and non-motorized vehicles users.

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