July 18, 2024

The city council has scheduled an experimental period of implementation for the proposed ordinance seeking to provide safety measures for bikers, pedestrians, and motorists in line with the goal of sustaining Baguio as a bike-friendly city.
The proposed measure entitled “Safe Cycling, Walking, and other forms of Micro Mobility Ordinance” was deferred on second reading and returned to the concerned committee during the March 14 city council session to give way to the test run and to address the issues raised on some of its provisions.
As suggested by Vice Mayor Faustino Olowan, the experimental period has been set for two regular Saturdays to educate the public and enforcement agencies and make adjustments in the measure’s provisions if necessary.
The proposed ordinance, which seeks for a P50-million budget and authored by councilors Lilia Fariñas, Mylen Yaranon, Benny Bomogao, Levy Lloyd Orcales, and Betty Tabanda, aims to reiterate the importance of bicycle lanes as one of the best practices in mitigating the effects of global warming due to motor vehicles, foster environmental sustainability, and to protect pedestrians and cyclists by providing safety measures in the lanes dedicated for the purpose.
It is also in compliance with the memorandum circular of the Department of the Interior and Local Government which provides the guidelines for the establishment of a network of cycling lanes and walking paths to support people’s mobility and encourages local government units to accord highest priority to the development of proper sidewalks and bicycle lanes.
Orcales added it promotes active mobility among residents and at the same time seeks to ensure the safety of bikers in the city streets shared by cyclists, motorists, and pedestrians, since they are more vulnerable compared to motor vehicle users.
The measure specifies the lanes dedicated for the exclusive use of bike riders, which means motor vehicles are strictly prohibited from using the same and going beyond the area dedicated for cars and other motorized vehicles.
The proposed measure provides penalties for motorists who cause injury, damage to property, or death to cyclists or pedestrians using bike lanes – P5,000 for offense; P5,000, suspension or revocation of driver’s license depending on the gravity of damages, and criminal or civil penalties as may be determined by the court.
In the same manner, bike users are prohibited from going beyond their exclusive lanes.
Children and minors are allowed to ride bikes and use the lanes provided they are accompanied by adults.
Tabanda said there should also be penalties for cyclists who will go beyond their allotted lanes or violate other provisions in the proposed ordinance.
She added children strictly should not be allowed to use bike lanes without guardians, especially in the central business district, and therefore the ordinance should identify areas where they may be allowed without putting them at risk and endangering their safety.
Councilor Michael Lawana said there may be a need for public consultation since there are penal provisions involved.
He pointed out the bike routes, while identified in the ordinance, do not include options when bikers need to deviate from the lanes in order to reach their destination.
He also inquired on the number of residents who have been using bicycles as their mode of transportation, although he acknowledged biking has become a necessity in other countries where most residents use it not just as form of exercise but in going to work.
Council members agreed cyclists should undergo trainings or seminars on biking systems but have to decide yet whether it should be made mandatory.
Councilor Phillian Allan also raised the possibility of coming up with separate bike lanes, not on existing roads.
Yaranon said their committee will take on the members’ observations and agreed to the experiment period, although she reminded the city cannot provide what other countries have due to the lack of space in the city.
“Our roads are not really that wide that we can provide a separate bicycle lane. It is the reason why there are shared roads, we have painted bicycle lanes. But then we would not like to restrict our cyclists from being safe because this is the purpose of this proposed ordinance. We should consider the number of injuries and even deaths (due to lack of guidelines),” she said.
Yaranon added it is also one of the reasons why penalties are high, since they want to discourage violations and for motorists to respect and consider the safety of bikers. – Hanna C. Lacsamana