Bike to work

The Freeman - - SPORTS -

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.

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