SOURCE: Press and Public Affairs Bureau
Puwersa ng Bayaning Atleta Partylist Rep. Jericho Jonas Nograles today expressed hopes that President Duterte would certify as urgent various pending bills that calls for the establishment of bike lanes on all main roads and highways and provide tax perks for people who use bicycles on the daily commute to their workplace.
Nograles who claims he is a biker himself, said that he has filed House Bill 174 otherwise know as the " Bicycle Law" to require all main roads and highways to be allocated with bike lanes or bikeways and the creation of a Local Bikeways Office in every city and municipality.
He would also file another measure which would incentivize people who use bikes on their daily work commute and companies that provide special facilities to encourage employees to use bikes such as safe bike parking areas, shower and locker rooms.
"I really hope that President Duterte would include proposals to create bike lanes in his list of urgent measures which must be prioritized by Congress," said Nograles who is the president's nephew.
According to Nograles, there is an urgent need for the government to extend all the protection needed by bikers because they are the most vulnerable to abusive and wayward motorists despite their big contribution to the country's effort to mitigate climate change and reduce traffic gridlock in Metro Manila.
" Governments of modern nations around the world are turning to bicycles in their effort to reduce carbon footprints in their communities. Countries like Netherlands and the United Kingdom have been providing a wide array of incentives for their citizens to use bikes in their daily commute while providing all the infrastructure needed to make biking safer in their cities. Ireland have their own Cycle to Work scheme which actually provides tax perks for employers who facilitate loans for their employers for them to be able to buy their own bikes and bike safety devices," Nograles said.
"As result, vehicle traffic is nearly non-existent and you can still breathe fresh air even in their highly urbanized cities," he added.
Nograles said he filed HB 174 to institutionalize the establishment of bike lanes in all main roads and thoroughfares in the light of the series of deadly accidents involving cyclists. He noted that because of Metro Manila's worsening traffic mess, more and more Filipinos are now resorting to bikes as their mode of transportation.
The absence of bike lanes could also result to unnecessary mishaps that can lead to violent confrontations such as the incident in Manila where an Army Reservist identified as Vhon Tanto allegedly shot and killed a biker identified as Vincent Garalde.
"Bicycle riding not only promotes health and leisure but will also provide an alternative solution to the high prices of fuel, increasing fares, traffic, noise and air pollution, and the high cost of vehicles. Biking is an alternative way of physical exercise that has long been promoted not only in the Philippines, but globally," Nograles said in his bill.
Under HB147, all main roads and highways shall be provided with bicycle lanes or bikeways identified by the Local Bikeways Office (LBO), an agency which will be created to implementing the policies, rules and regulations pertinent to the Bicycle Act including the registration of bicycles using the bikeways. This agency will be under the supervision of the City or Municipal Engineering Office.
Nograles said that apart from establishing an anti-theft mechanism, registration is a first step in the bid to create a cyclists' database which can be used in the future for tax perks and other incentives which may be granted to bikes for their contribution in fight climate change and for helping ease the traffic problem especially in Metro Manila.
"It is the policy of the state to protect and promote the right to health of the people and instill health consciousness. It is also the duty of the state to protect the environment for a balanced and healthful ecology. This bill seeks to provide a framework for a bicycle law on a national level so that commuters may find a cheaper alternative to get to their destination while saving the environment from harmful emissions," Nograles said.