To cope with high fuel, Ride Bike

Sen. Miriam Defensor Santiago is offering a simple solution for rising gas prices: ride a bike.

"With Filipinos struggling to cope with the increases in fuel prices, cycling provides an inexpensive, healthier and more earth-friendly alternative," Santiago said.

Santiago, the main proponent of the Biofuels Law in the Senate, said that cycling provides advantages over the use of motor vehicles because bicycles produce no air or noise pollution, do not consume fossil fuels, and reduce traffic congestion. Biking also provides the cyclist with exercise and relieves stress.

Citing the vast benefits of the establishment of a nationwide bicycle program, Santiago filed Senate Bill No. 2789 seeking to establish bike-friendly communities throughout the Philippines. Bicycle-friendly cities are those that are most accommodating to cyclists.

"To support such a program, the proper infrastructure must be created. Without it, biking on Philippine roads remains hazardous to the cyclist," Santiago said.

Santiago's bill, also known as the Bike-Friendly Communities Act, will mandate the Department of Transportation and Communication to establish a bike program to promote safe biking in all towns and cities, 
including the construction and maintenance of bicycle lanes, parking, and support facilities.

The bill will also require all public places, government offices, and major business establishments to provide bicycle racks for bicycle parking which are secure, visible, and accessible.

Santiago said she found inspiration for the bill from cities around the world that have successfully created bike-friendly communities such as Amsterdam, Barcelona, Basel, Berlin, Beijing, Strasbourg, and several states in the U.S. such as New York, California, and Oregon.

"Establishing a nation-wide bicycle program would empower citizens by providing them with a concrete alternative means of commuting from one city to another. This integration of bicycling into the country's transport system and city planning would ensure that the program becomes more permanent," Santiago said.
Santiago's bill was filed in time for the annual Tour of the Fireflies this weekend. Described as a "Mardi Gras on wheels" for its costumed participants, the Tour of the Fireflies is a mass cycling event where participants ride their bicycles through Metro Manila advocating for cleaner air and sustainable communities.