Metro Manila is basically not a cycling-friendly metropolis. Road space is practically devoted to motor vehicles and sidewalks are not wide enough to accommodate a lane for cycling or space that can be shared by pedestrians and cyclists. The latter observation on space is actually arguable considering that in Japan, narrow sidewalks and carriageways are usable for cyclists and people are generally respectful of others’ right-of-way and perhaps right to travel. As such, conflicts are minimized among pedestrian, cyclists and motorists.Such situations can also be achieved in Metro Manila and other Philippine cities as well. Key is to have a consciousness among people of everyone’s right to space. Also, there is a need to actively, persistently promote a safe interaction among road users such as what has been done by cycling advocates like the Firefly Brigade and what the MMDA is now doing with their initiatives promoting NMT.
Searching for some quick wins aside from the example of Marikina (where there are formal bikeways already in place), I’m featuring a few photos taken around Metro Manila that can be regarded as examples where there have been initiatives toward quick wins in promoting cycling. These include a couple of photos in the Malate, Manila area and couple along Marcos Highway in Pasig City.
Bikeways in Malate
Segregated bicycle lane along Marcos Highway
Cyclists along Katipunan Avenue (C-5)
Except for the case of Katipunan, all the photos show space designated for cyclists. But Katipunan should be seen as a corridor that has a high potential for walking and cycling given the nature of the land use between Ateneo and UP Diliman. There are opportunities here to promote suitable non-motorized modes of transport while also working for a reduction in car use associated with the schools in the area. While there are still issues of encroachments (e.g., vehicles parked on the sidewalk, and depriving pedestrians and cyclists of their space) in the case of Marcos Highway, these are enforcement issues that LGUs like Antipolo City should address. I cite Antipolo because Marikina and Pasig are generally for cycling and have often reminded establishments to clear the space for pedestrians and cyclists.