With the growing use of bicycles as an alternative mode of transportation and the increasing number of cycling enthusiasts in the country, Senator Christopher “Bong” Go lauded President Rodrigo Duterte for proclaiming every fourth Sunday of November as National Bicycle Day through Proclamation No. 1052 he signed last November 18.
The Department of Environment and Natural Resources is mandated to lead its observance every year, in coordination with relevant non-government organizations and civil society groups.
“Dapat lamang mas bigyan pa natin ng kaukulang suporta ang ating mga siklista. Siguraduhin rin natin na maprotektahan sila at mapromote pa lalo ito bilang mas healthy and environment friendly mode of transportation,” Go said, who also chairs the Senate Committees on Sports and Health.
Go, who has been a supporter of the use of bicycles as an active form of transportation in the country, aims to also provide awareness on the benefits of non-motorized transportation to the environment. He also emphasized the benefits of cycling to the physical health and well-being of Filipinos.
“Sa panahon ngayon, kailangan na nating isipin paano makakatulong ang ating lifestyle sa ating kalusugan. Sa pamamagitan ng paggamit ng bisikleta, mabibigyan tayo ng pagkakataong makapag-exercise at, syempre, makatulong sa ating kapaligiran,” Go said.
Moreover, the Senator is urging Filipinos to consider the bicycle as a means of mobility amid the ongoing the pandemic. Given the existing community quarantine restrictions, the challenges and limitations on public transportation, Go has been encouraging Filipinos who need to go to work to use bicycles.
He added, “And, in fact, doon po sa mga nasunugan, tinatanong ko sila, hirap po sila… they’re having a hard time po sa transportation in going to their respective na trabaho po nila, so sabi ko, I encourage them to use bicycles. Minsan po namimigay po ako ng bisikleta sa kanila.”
During aid distribution activities and outreach programs conducted by his office for Filipinos affected by the pandemic, calamities and other crisis situations around the country, the Senator has been giving away bicycles to provide means of transportation, especially to those who have to go to work.
“Limitado ang ating transportasyon ngayon dahil sa pandemya. Kailangan maiwasan muna natin ang paggamit masyado ng pampublikong sasakyan dahil ayaw nating mahawaan ng sakit. Kaya naman isa sa mga solusyon talaga ay ang paggamit ng bisikleta,” Go said.
In his speech on the public hearing of the Senate Committee on Sustainable Development Goals, Innovation and Futures Thinking held on July 16, Go said, “I have strongly been advocating for the use of bicycles these days. Matagal ko na rin pong hinihikayat ang ating mga kababayan na gumamit nalang po ng bisikleta para sa kanilang pang-araw araw na commute.”
Last August, Go also expressed his full support for the passage of Senate Bill No. 1582, also known as the “Safe Pathways Act”. The bill seeks to establish networks of pop-up bicycle lanes and emergency pathways along local roads following the imposition of community quarantine measures due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Senator has been reminding national and local governments to designate bike lanes to ensure the ease and safety of those who opt to use such mode of transportation as well as the general public.
Citing the National Transport Policy of the National Economic Development Authority, “LGUs and national agencies shall accord the highest priority to the development of proper sidewalks and networks of bicycle lanes that will encourage active transport and provide safe and direct access to priority destinations.” According to Go, it is imperative that people-mobility must be prioritized over vehicle-mobility.
“Let us just make sure the lanes are properly assigned with demarcation lines and lighting in place,” Go said.
Since 2014, the National Bicycle Day has been held every fourth Sunday of November in the country in line with the observance of the National Environmental Awareness month, Clean Air Month, and the National Day of Remembrance for Road Crash Victims, Survivors and their Families which are all celebrated on the same month.
Go also reminded bicycle riders to follow traffic rules and safety regulations in order to avoid accidents and untoward incidents.
“Pakiusap lang po sa mga nagbibisikleta: sumunod po tayo sa batas trapiko at sa mga patakaran. Maging disiplinado po tayo para sa kaayusan rin ng ating komunidad,” he said.