Top 5 Bike-Friendly Cities in the Philippines
| Cycling in the Philippines
The call for declaring 2015 as the Air Pollution Awareness Year by doctors and scientists urges the government to address the worsening air quality in the Philippines. Air pollution can expose people to risks of getting cancer as pollutants are proven to be carcinogenic by the WHO International Agency for Research on Cancer. In the Philippines, 80% of the pollution load are emitted by motor vehicles, which greatly contributes to the warming of our environment. Therefore, aside from optimizing anti-smoke belching campaigns, it is also important to raise our awareness on bicycles as a mode of transportation.
Fortunately, it didn’t take long for these cities below to realize the importance of having a highway network system where motorists can share the lane with bikers. And to give you an idea on bike-able cities in the Philippines, here’s our top 5!
Bike along Diversion Road to get to SM City Iloilo from Esplanade or vice versa. The bike lane is filled up with plant boxes, providing a good air quality in the environment. The city also has recently played host to the 2nd Bike Festival which is about promoting bicycles as a mode of transportation and to raise awareness about road safety among Ilonggos.
The City of Love is on a quest for being the Philippine’s Bike Capital by installing more bike lanes on its busier roads like Diversion Road in Mandurriao, the city Business Park, and thoroughfares around the local tourist spots. Walkways are also in progress in an effort to secure the safety of pedestrians and joggers.
It is no secret that Marikina is on its way to becoming a major bike-friendly city on the country. When the Marikina River got rehabilitated in the 1990’s, the local government had installed a 10-km jogging and bike lane, too. People have then begun to spend some quiet time by the river and the site became a recreational destination for families.
In 2007, Marikina bid to become a bicycle-friendly and walkable city by improving its roadways and walkways. The local government unit had offered a bicycle for rent program for its employees and held in-school activities to educate the youth about the benefits of cycling and its how-to’s. Today, Marikina is proud of its clean river and 70-km bike lanes, where they can also hold fun run events.
Metro Cebu doesn’t get lag behind other cities when it comes to developing sustainable programs. The city did even conduct the so-called Green City Loop Experiment in 2014, through which only a limited number of motor vehicles were allowed to use half of each of the four major roads under a certain period of time. Meanwhile, the other half of those roads was given to joggers, locals, and bikers, to freely use it all to themselves. The experiment lasted for a day, from 3PM to 7PM, but this served as a springboard to Cebu’s long-term sustainable development programs under the Green Loop Plan.
If you haven’t been to Calle Crisologo in Vigan City, do note that it is now a car-less street. It is a heritage zone that tourists may enjoy marveling at while on a bike or on foot. Local government officials believe that turning Calle Crisologo into a walkable and bike-able zone is crucial for the city’s economic growth and preservation. No wonder the same plans are now underway to develop the touristy Governor Reyes Street into a bike-able zone.
Pasig is one of the first cities in Metro Manila to close off its roads on Sundays to share it with bikers and pedestrians from 6AM to 12PM. But part of the long term sustainable development plan is to really turn a section of C. Raymundo Avenue, Caruncho Avenue, and MRR Pineda Road into a bike lane, and then establish an elevated walkway from Ortigas MRT to Opal Street so that pedestrians can easily and safely get to the Central Business District.
In summary, the worsening traffic situation and air pollution in bigger cities cannot be ignored. Now that some LGU’s are actually willing to take action on it is a good start, and you can also contribute to this initiative by coming to work by means of biking. On weekends, why not tag some of your friends from the cycling community along to enjoy this exclusive privilege given to bikers and pedestrians. Not only you are able to save up on your gas, but you have also helped the city minimize its level of greenhouse gas emission.