Cycling groups grade Metro Manila bicycle lane network

Last week, representatives from the Department of Transportation (DOTr), Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH), and various cycling advocacy groups inspected two major portions of the Metro Manila bicycle lane. The Metro Manila bicycle lane is a network of dedicated lanes for active mobility users like cyclists and electric kick scooter riders.

Several cyclist advocacy groups like Bikers United Movement (BUM), Firefly Brigade, and Move As One Coalition participated in the inspection and biked throughout the route to inspect the infrastructure.

They inspected two major sections of the Metro Manila Bike Lane Network, starting from C-5 going to EDSA through Shaw Boulevard and to Roxas Boulevard where the group ride-tested the bi-directional Class 1 bike lanes.

Metro Manila bike lanes: ‘pwede na’ says active mobility groups image

One might ask: did the bike lanes pass or fail? Bikers United Movement gave it a score of “pwede na” (it will do).

Bicycle lane scorecard

One of the groups that support the promotion of active mobility here in the country, Bikers United Movement (BUM), has been grading bicycle lanes in various cities. They release these scores publicly so that government regulators can address some of the concerns.

Below is a sample score card for the current bicycle lanes in Quezon City.

Metro Manila bike lanes: ‘pwede na’ says active mobility groups image

According to BUM, the “Bike Lane Scorecard is meant to evaluate the experience of bikers as they use the bicycle lanes established by the local government unit. The Scorecard is ultimately intended to help the LGU and other stakeholders explore and pursue solutions to improve the active transport and bicycle infrastructure and culture. The audit is based on the principles of active transport as provided for in City Ordinance SP-2988 (Safe Cycling Ordinance).”

If the BUM’s scorecard is to be used, Quezon City’s (which is the country’s largest city in terms of population) bicycle lanes got an average score of 2.74, described as “pwede na” but definitely more can be done.

In stark contrast, the bicycle lane between EDSA Cubao and Ortigas got the lowest score of 3.38. BUM noted that although the 12.4-kilometer (2-way) lanes are marked, it was only partially-protected. Most of the time, motorists blocked or drove on the lane.

Our friends from Electric Kick Scooter PH (EKSPH), who are also vocal supporters of the establishment of dedicated lanes for active transport users, have shared with that they appreciate and thank the government for the development of such lanes. However, there is still a lot of room for improvement.

Metro Manila bike lanes: ‘pwede na’ says active mobility groups image

“We welcome the progress of bicycle lanes, but there is [still] a lot of room for improvements. The EDSA and C5 bike lanes specifically, the quality of the lane is 4 out of 10.”

On a positive note, they commended how the government did a pretty good job in delineating bicycle lanes, giving it an 8 out of 10 score. “In the context of the bike lane delineation, we score it 8 of 10.”

Respect the bicycle lanes

As motorcycle riders, we should understand that these dedicated bicycle lanes are there for a reason. For one, it protects riders of active transport  vehicles against unruly drivers and even motorcycle riders. Second, these bicycle lanes are also there to protect us from bicycles who might be deviating from their lanes (and risk crashing into us) if there are no barriers.

Since the pandemic started, for many Filipinos, riding a bicycle has been the only safe way for them to go to and from work to make ends meet. Riding a biccycle also puts them at less risk of contracting the coronavirus since they are basically avoiding mass transport.

As motorcycle riders, respect the bicycle lanes and do not put cyclist’s lives at risk like this kamote.