MORE than 200 bikers plan to visit 14 churches in Cebu City during a 30-kilometer “penitential ride” tomorrow, and the organizers have convinced the mayor to let them.
Cebu City Mayor Michael Rama lifted yesterday the suspension of the activity, after organizers promised to coordinate with City Hall so that participants can bike safely.
Rama earlier decided to put on hold the event because he had some complaints about how a bike run during the Earth Hour last Saturday was conducted. An estimated 5,000 bikers joined that ride, which happened at night.
Some 200 to 250 bikers are projected to join the bike ride tomorrow morning, Maundy Thursday, a holiday.
In a separate interview, Councilor Gerardo Carillo said that the bikers will occupy only one lane.
Carillo, founder of the Sugbo Bikers, said the participants will visit 14 churches in the city as part of their 30-kilometer route, and that this will be their way of observing the Visita Iglesia. (Some Catholics devote part of their Holy Week to visiting several churches.)
The event, which will be open to everyone provided they register, will kick off at 4 a.m. on the Plaza Sugbo grounds in front of City Hall. Organizers plan to end the ride at 8 a.m.
As part of the penitential ride, the bikers will visit the Basilica Minore del Santo Niño, St. Joseph the Patriarch in Mabolo, St. Therese Parish in Lahug, National Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe, Our Lady of Remedios Parish in Labangon, Archdiocesan Shrine of Our Lady of Lourdes in Punta Princesa, Holy Cross Parish in Basak Pardo, Sto. Tomas de Villanueva in Pardo, Archdiocesan Shrine of San Roque in Mambaling, San Nicolas de Tolentino Parish on C. Padilla St., Santo Rosario Parish on P. del Rosario St., Redemptorist Church on Queens Road, and Archdiocesan Shrine of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus on D. Jakosalem St.
Carillo said that the organizers have asked participants to wear the proper gear, including helmets and blinkers.
“If they fail to follow, they will not be allowed to participate in the event,” he said. Carillo said they can monitor those who will join the activity because the participants have uniforms.
The councilor, who also attended last Monday’s meeting with Mayor Rama, said they will deploy 20 marshals to oversee the participants, as well as sweeper trucks that will ensure that no bikers are left behind.
Emergency teams will also stand by.
The mayor has said he was upset by how bikers acted during the night run last Saturday, especially in the Fuente Osmeña area, because they went wherever they wanted, as though they owned the whole road.
In his regular news conference yesterday, Rama said he already met with the organizers of the penitential bike run, including the Sugbo Bikers, Tindak Sugbo and some members of the media.
“They have committed that they will comply with all the requirements. I will give them the benefit of the doubt,” he said.
Rama added he wants their commitments put in writing.
He also asked organizers to make sure that the bikers use only a designated lane during the event, use the proper safety gear and work with the marshals.
Organizers should also coordinate with the City Traffic Operations Management (Citom) and the City Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council, the mayor said.
Meanwhile, the Tindak Sugbo Bikers Coalition issued an official statement about the bike run held during the Earth Hour celebration.
Joel Lee said their group is grateful to the mayor for his concern for the safety of bikers.
“There is really a big number of bikers now in the city” so that “addressing their need for safety has become an urgent matter for the local government,” he said.
The group hopes that the Shared Bike Lane Ordinance proposed by Councilor Nida Cabrera will soon be implemented.
“In the meantime, the bikers will continue to share the roads just like other citizens and excitedly look forward to the time when the designated bike lanes can provide additional safety on the road,” Lee added.