The Senate has approved on second reading the bill that aims to provide safe and convenient pathways for Filipinos who prefer to walk, or use non-motorized vehicles, such as bicycles and electric personal mobility devices to get to their regular destinations.
The passage of Senate Bill 1582, or the Safe Pathways Network bill, will primarily benefit the growing local biking community, according to the bill’s principal author and sponsor, Senator Pia S. Cayetano, herself a bike enthusiast.
“This is good news sa lahat ng mga bicycle advocates and enthusiasts. Because during this time of COVID, napansin namin that there have been more people who want to use a bicycle to get to work,” said Cayetano, Chairperson of the Senate Committee on Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), Innovation, and Futures Thinking.
“We must provide infrastructure that would encourage and accommodate sustainable and healthy modes of transportation such as walking, biking, and the use of other non-motorized vehicles,” she added.
Under the proposed measure, a Safe Pathways Network shall be established throughout the country, consisting of bicycle lanes and ‘slow streets’ along local roads that will provide pedestrians and non-motorized vehicle users safe and convenient access to frequented destinations.
Non-motorized vehicles include bicycles, skates, skateboards, push scooters, and hand carts, while electric bicycles and electric kick scooters are referred to as electric personal mobility devices, according to Cayetano’s bill.
Bicycle lanes shall be physically separated from the main road through physical barriers, or shall be elevated, or constructed separately from the main road. Painted road markers may also be used for roads with limited space.
“It is important that there is a network of bicycle lanes to assure continuity. Mahirap naman na doon lang sa barangay mo may bike lane. Dapat meron din sa iba’t ibang barangay. Kunwari tatawid ka from Taguig to Pateros or to Makati. Para safe kang makakarating. Ayaw natin ng bike lane that suddenly ends,” Cayetano stressed.
Meanwhile, motor vehicles shall have restricted access to slow streets, and speed limits shall be put in place on certain days or hours.
“‘Slow streets’ is a relatively new concept in the country. Pwedeng ipasara yung kalsada para sa mga sasakyan para pwedeng lakaran at gamitan ng bisikleta,” the senator explained.
Cayetano added that the proposed measure would promote a healthy lifestyle among Filipinos and benefit the environment due to reduced carbon emissions and less use of energy and resources.
She further noted that the bill’s objectives are in line with the country’s commitments to the SDGs, in particular: SDG 3 (Good Health and Well-Being); SDG 7 (Affordable and Clean Energy); SDG 9 (Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure); SDG 11 (Sustainable Cities and Communities); SDG 13 (Climate Action); and SDG 17 (Partnerships for the Goals). #