Press Release
February 2, 2021

"Of Bike Lanes and BTS" -- Explanation of Vote Speech for the Safe Pathways Act
SB 1582: Safe Pathways Act

Dear Mr. President, my dear colleagues:

On this bill, I have no recourse but to follow the leader of the pack, the captain of the Senate cycling team. I vote yes.

A national safe and sustainable bicycle infrastructure is like a bike wheel. It consists of spokes. And this bill is but one of many.

And if a bicycle journey begins with a single pedal push, this one is it.

Or I could be wrong, because we have done that a long time ago, when we collectively pushed for funds for bicycle lanes in past national budgets, and when we allocated billions for bike lanes, racks, and even bicycles in the Bayanihan law.

Pia, Amazing Grace, Sonny, Migz, Tol, to name a few, were relentless in teaching a government—on training wheels—to embrace cycling as a major mode of moving people.

More than providing safeways for cyclists, this bill sets the pathway for the future, when travel's accepted definition is to move people, and not just cars.

After all, in road use, we assign rights not to pistons, but to persons.

This is also a way forward for the biggest sector in the country - the learning and teaching class—some 30 million of them, from preschoolers in daycares to PhD candidates in colleges.

After the virus has been beaten back, the new normal should not be a return to the old, but the debut of the opportunities the crisis has created.

It means reducing one of the major causes of school incompletion, which is the high cost of transportation.

Yes, even if school is free, students drop out because they are too poor to pay the P50-peso jeepney or tricycle ride to school. The transport hurdle is a cause of truancy.

Kahit may pagkaing baon na ang bata, pero kung wala namang pamasahe o walang masakyan, paano siya makakapasok?

One solution which I have been pushing for more than a decade now is a Bike to School program, and I am glad that in two fiscal years in the not so distant past, the DepEd allocated money for bancas and bicycles, so students can go to school by pedal or by paddle.

Ang problema po kasi ay hindi lang last mile schools, but long mile schools, na hindi lang nakikita sa rural o riverine communities, pero sa kalunsuran din.

Ang Bike to School ay naging successful sa ilang bansa sa paglaban sa illiteracy.

These are given to financially hard up students who would have dropped out for lack of fare money or a regular ride.

Parang isang uri ng CCT: Conditional Commute Transfer, a kind of cycle-for-class attendance swap, by giving them their ride to a bright future.

Kung riding in tandem, ang matitipid ng magkapatid ay P100. At dahil ang bisikleta ay hindi lang pang-edukasyon, pero pampamilya rin, maari ring gamitin ng ama sa pagbisita sa sakahan.

A bike is a fuel-free, easy to maintain, green vehicle, an exercise device that is also a tool for literacy. In this age of the pandemic, it is a ride that checks all health protocols.

Bikes are not only beneficial to personal health, their widespread use is fiscally healthy, too. If we can afford a subway priced at P12 billion a kilometer, then we can certainly build bikeways that cost little.

But to promote and propagate their use, we must make our roads safe for the rider, and this bill is one of the many ways to do it. This will be the law that serves as proof of life of a great idea.

And if we can demonstrate that we have made our roads safe for bicycles, then this could lead to the creation of a huge BTS, Bike to School, army among our youth.

News Latest News Feed