Sharing the road
IT is quite impressive to see the improvements made in terms of policies and infrastructure for biking in Davao City. At present, there are 27 streets and avenues around the city that have bike lanes. This allows bikers to drive around the city safely. During evenings, we can see that some of the bike lanes are lit with lane lights.
The city government of Davao is also streamlining policies related to biking. Davao City Transport and Traffic Management Office (CTTMO) chief Dionisio Abude said the city government, through the 19th City Council, is currently harmonizing some provisions of the city Bicycle Ordinance and the Traffic Code of Davao.
Once the policies are finalized and implemented, those who park their vehicles illegally along bike lanes could face fines up to P500. CTTMO is also prioritizing the establishment of the Bike Management Team to monitor the correct use of bike lanes in the city.
These are welcome developments in making the roads of Davao safer for those who are using bikes as mode of transport to get to their destination.
However, as fast as these developments are, there are still gaps when it comes to the adjustment of those using the roads.
There are some motorists who are still not aware that they are sharing the roads with cyclists every day. Some motorcycle drivers continue to be a headache as they make cuts and suddenly overtake vehicles and cyclists. Likewise, there are cyclists who are also not observing proper road safety practices – not wearing helmets, not using hand signals, and even biking in the inner lanes instead of the outer lane or the bike lane.
Hence, there may be a need for CTTMO to also intensify or recalibrate how it educates road users considering the changes in how people are moving around.
There is a need to let bike users understand local traffic rules and road safety practices. It is a good thing that private groups of bike users in the city have been working hard to educate their members on road safety.
The Department of Transportation can also intensify its promotion of the DOTr-SM Biker’s Manual that it developed in partnership with SM Cares. This manual could help inform bike users on how they can ride safely.
It is also important to make motorists understand the changes in the transportation scene in Davao City. There are now bikers who are sharing the road with them. Making them aware of the presence of the bikers could also improve road safety.
In a way, there are more people using the road now. Therefore, road users have to learn how to respect one another and share the road. They can start doing this by following traffic rules and being respectful and mindful while driving.