MANILA – The Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) is set to apprehend motorists driving through bike lanes as part of its efforts towards the safety of cyclists beginning next week.
In a Laging Handa briefing on Thursday, MMDA Acting Chair Romando Artes said an increasing number of motorists -- both driving four-wheeled and two-wheeled vehicles -- are driving through bike lanes.
“Dati naman po sinusunod iyan pero with the suspension or TRO (temporary restraining order) sa NCAP (no contact apprehension policy), lumakas po ang loob ng ating mga kababayan na i-violate po iyang safe space na inilaan ng DOTr (Department of Transportation) para sa nagbibisikleta (They used to obey it but with the suspension or the TRO on the NCAP, they are no longer hesitant to violate the safe space reserved by the DOTr to cyclists),” Artes said.
He noted that there is no specific start date for the apprehension of bike lane violators.
“We’re thinking of next week actually, but we will not announce kung kailan kasi alam mo naman ang ating mga kababayan, hangga’t alam na hindi kami maniniket ay patuloy na iba-violate iyong safe space nga po para sa mga nagbibisikleta (but we will not announce when exactly because some motorists would just ignore it if know they won’t get ticketed. They will continue to violate the safe space of cyclists),” he said.
Lane sharing being studied
Due to the much larger number of motorcycles compared to bikes passing through the Epifanio Delos Santos Avenue (EDSA), he said the feasibility of lane sharing between motorcycles and bicycles is being studied.
“Sa amin pong datos, 165,000 na na motorsiklo ang dumadaan sa Edsa every day as compared sa mahigit isanlibo na nagbibisikleta araw-araw. So parang sa amin po, parang sa aming obserbasyon ay underutilized itong portion ng kalsada (Based on our data, there are 165,000 motorcycles passing through EDSA every day compared to over 1,000 bicycles daily. So, for us, we’re observing that this portion of the road is being underutilized),” he said.
Such a lane sharing, he said, would involve expanding the bike lane to accommodate motorcycles as well as other considerations.
“Mayroon lamang pong mga challenges diyan na kailangan pa rin pong pag-aralan tulad ng puwede pa po ba silang lumabas diyan at pumasok sa mga overpass or underpass, diyan lamang po ba sila, optional lang iyong paggamit ng mga motor dito sa bike lane, may oras ba (There are several challenges we need to study such as whether they can go outside that lane and enter an overpass or underpass, should it only be optional for motorcycles, should there be a specific time),” he said.
In response to reactions that such a policy could endanger cyclists, he disagreed as that implies that most motorcycle riders are all dangerous drivers.
“Sa proper guidance at sa proper regulation po na ipalalabas kung sakaling maging shared iyan, iyong atin naman pong mga kababayan na nagmumotor ay puwedeng sumunod (We are going to release proper guidance and regulation once it becomes a shared lane, our motorcycle riders will be able to comply),” he said.
The policy, he said, will be discussed with other stakeholders in a meeting on Aug. 29 that will culminate in a report to be submitted to the DOTr for approval.
He, however, said the long-term solution for active transportation in EDSA is the creation of elevated walkways and bikeways -- currently undergoing a feasibility study and detailed engineering design.
“Ang iniisip po namin, iyong sa southbound side ay two-way for bicycles; at iyong pedestrian po, southbound, from Guadalupe to Cubao, two-way din po ay exclusively for pedestrian para magkahiwalay po sila (What we’re thinking is having two-way bike lanes and two-way pedestrian lanes at the southbound side from Guadalupe to Cubao so they will be separate),” he said. (PNA)