MANILA

Taguig thanks Duterte, Villar for 'model bike highway' along C6 Road

GRATITUDE is pouring in from cyclists for the Laguna Lake Highway bike lane, a project of President Rodrigo Duterte made possible by the Department of Public Works and Highways, led by Secretary Mark Villar, which provides a worry-free biking experience.

Cyclist Enrique Tija, a 43-year-old resident of Barangay Napindan, said the bike lane really was a great help for him and my friends.

"Every Sunday, they would bike here to practice... Some people who also pass through here going to work avoid getting sideswiped by motorcycles and cars," Tija said.

He said before roads were safe for bikers, one of his children lost two fingers in an accident while on a bike. A jeepney ran over his fingers after he propped it on the road to avoid falling flat on the ground.

From Pasig, jeepney driver Reymond Banaba, 49, comes to Laguna Lake Highway to bike: "Taguig has been the best because it has this protected area where we can bike for fitness. Before, this really wasn’t a great place to bike but after it was developed, the bike lane is now entirely separated from the main road thus giving bikes protection from speeding vehicles."

Launched in February 2019, the three-meter-wide stretch of road, which spans 5.8 kilometers, was the first protected bike lane along a Philippine national highway, a prototype for new roads and existing roads wide enough to accommodate a bike lane.

The lane is separated from the highway with a planting strip, ensuring a permanent structure protecting bikers against high-speed traffic. Streetlights and road signages are added safety features.

“It’s such a great initiative to have a bike lane like this in the city,” said Primo Longos, 62, a biking enthusiast since the 1980s. “It’s big help, especially to elder bikers like me. Imagine how unsafe it would be for us to race with vehicles on the highway.”

Taguig City recently refurbished the 5.8-kilometer protected bike lane as part of its comprehensive push for cycling as a viable mode of transportation for residents and workers on essential travel.

The local government ensured that the protected bike lane is clean and repainted as part of the World Bike Day celebrations on June 3. Directional signages were also installed.

“We are welcoming everyone who wants to join the city in embracing this love for biking,” said Mayor Lino Cayetano. "Take advantage to a very safe in-city biking spot. It’s free for everyone."

The project is one part of a multistep approach to promote biking in Taguig. On June 3, the City also set up bike lanes along Cayetano Boulevard and Bayani Road for a three-day demo to test the volume of bikers "who can use the routes for essential travels during the general community quarantine for the purpose of establishing an integrated bike path within the city."

Earlier, on June 1, Taguig passed the “Bike-Friendly Taguig Ordinance,” which created an Active Transport Office to focus on championing biking to citizens and increasing bike-friendly spots in the city.

Added bike lanes are a welcome addition, said Remigio Belen, 68. “It would be nice to have these spots not far from our addresses. If we have more and they are well-maintained, thousands of bikers will benefit.”

Banaba noted: “I really hope for more bike-friendly roads. It will be for the welfare of a lot of bikers. We can be safer in more places.”

Geminiano Joya, a senior citizen and retired policeman, said: “If there are good bike lanes across Taguig, it will benefit more people. We will be safer, especially those who go to work on bikes.”

The “Bike-Friendly Taguig Ordinance” also wants to introduce biking to City Hall employees, law enforcers and public health workers through a bike-lending program.

The City will partner with the business sector to increase bike-friendly places and facilities, including protected lanes, showers and restrooms for cyclists, and bike racks. It will also seek workplaces that incentivize or subsidize workers switching to biking.

The City will post a monthly “Bike-Friendly Map” on I Love Taguig Facebook page to showcase bike lanes and cyclist-friendly facilities. The bike lane on Laguna Lake Highway is a permanent spot on that map. (PR)


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