Bike to work
Bike has been used to transport working class people way back in the 19th century and continued to the 1920's until it slowed down with the invention of motorized vehicles. Around the world, cycling to work is still the best mode of transportation from China, Taiwan, Great Britain to Netherlands. In my most recent visit in Tokyo, you can see people, both male and female, wearing suits on a bike going to work. With the skyrocketing price of fuel and expensive cost of transportation, bike can be your best mode of transportation. In the Philippines and in Cebu where I live, you can see people using bicycles to work but most of them arein bluecollared working group from security guards, construction workers and factory workers although our streets are not that safe to bike around. With no dedicated bike lane, one has to be careful going around on a bicycle, same goes out to pedestrian and motorcycles.
It only takes two to four hours a week to achieve a general improvement in your health. Cycling is low impact. It has lesser strain and injuries than other forms of exercise. It is a good muscle work out as it involves all of the major muscle groups as you pedal. It is easy once you learn, you don't forget. It is good for strength and endurance training and it also increases your aerobic fitness.
Although cycling has its negative side, pollution and most of all, the city or country does not support or have dedicated bike lanes. Other great countries around the world have already made an effort to make the city bike friendly as possible. Some cities in the Philippines that took some initiative in creating a bike friendly environment are Iloilo, Pasay, Cebu, Marikina and Vigan. Some malls do offer bike parking spaces such as Robinsons Galleria, SM City-Cebu, IT Park, Ayala and Cebu Business Park. For safety reasons though, I have a fear of parking my bike.
There are some major plans on putting up an LRT subway system in Cebu or Bus Rapid Transport system. But for me, before addressing all these major infrastructure development, one has to look back and make a simpler solution to the bigger problem. Making a major city pedestrian and bike friendly should be the first priority before shelling out billions of pesos. Major planning of landscape and infrastructure should be considered, because the health benefits of cycling maybe outweighed by unhealthy pollution around the area. In Netherlands, which ranked 2nd in the world's most bike friendly countries, bike lanes are segregated from cars, and cyclists are treated with respect. Cars are made to wait for bikes to pass at intersections. In some schools, 90 percent of students bike their way to class. Bicycle parking is available outside schools, office buildings and shops. In United Kingdom, some 7000km of greenways are reserved for cyclists, pedestrians, roller skaters, and people with reduced mobility. You can bike for as many miles as you can and have zero carbon dioxide emissions. On the other hand, an average car which drives around 10,000km per year emits about 5.1 metric tons of carbon dioxide. Imagine what the results would be if 1% of driving population is converted to bicycles in Manila and Cebu alone.
Now imagine this, a walk from Fuente to Ayala is only 1.6km and will take only 21 minutes of your time. If the pedestrian and bike lanes are made wider and safer, then one would walk or bike instead of driving their cars. The Mandaue City Hall to Pacific Mall is less than 2km away. The Mandaue City goverment tried to implement a dedicated bike lane along Guizo, AC Cortes/ SB Cabahug. The whole strip was converted to oneway traffic all the way to Pacific Mall but these dedicated bike lanes were just used as parking space by the establishments around the area. Although cycling is not the only solution to end all traffic problems, it can be a practical solution for everyone with a firm government initiative to protect the rights of pedestrians and cyclists plus the private sector. I can't emphasize enough how practical it would be if we will make Metro Cebu a pedestrian and bicycle friendly city.