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On bicycles as a preferred mode of transport
Sharing this article on bicycles being the perfect mode of transportation. It is framed with respect to the concept of the 15-minute city. Here is the article:
Johnson, R. (April 19, 2023) “Embracing the 15-Minute City: 7 Reasons why Bicycles Are the Perfect Mode of Transportation,” Momentum Mag, https://momentummag.com/embracing-the-15-minute-city-7-reasons-why-bicycles-are-the-perfect-mode-of-transportation/ [Last accessed: 4/29/2023]
To quote from the article:
“Bicycles are aligned with the goals of sustainability and climate action, as they contribute to reducing greenhouse gas emissions, air pollution, and congestion. In a 15-Minute City, where the focus is on creating sustainable and climate-friendly communities, bicycles can be a powerful tool to achieve these objectives. By promoting cycling as a viable transportation option, cities can reduce their carbon footprint, mitigate climate change impacts, and promote a greener and healthier way of living.”
On bicycles and first responders
I am sharing this article on the use of bicycles by first responders, particularly the police for their work:
International Police Mountain Bike Association (April 11, 2023) “Why Bicycles are Great for Police and First Responders,” Policemag.com, https://www.policemag.com/patrol/news/15382905/why-bicycles-are-great-for-police-and-first-responders [Last accessed: 4/15/2023]
To quote from the article:
“The advantages of using bicycles in public safety include:
• Bicycles can easily penetrate crowds – in highly congested areas police, EMS, and security personnel on bikes can move around more easily than patrol cars and ambulances.
• Response time in heavy traffic is improved – during their trial period in Orlando, bike medics responded in less than one minute 55% of the time; less than two minutes 83% of the time; and less than three minutes 95% of the time; contrasted with an average of four minutes for motorized rescue units.
• Stealth advantage – bicycles give officers the “stealth advantage” – because they are silent. Cops on bikes can ride right up to the scene of a crime before they are noticed.
• Police, EMS, and security cyclists lead by example – promoting helmet use and bike safety to the community and its children.
• Bicycles are great for public relations – an officer or a medic on a bike is much more approachable than one in a patrol car or ambulance.
• Bicycle use promotes good health – and departments benefit from decreased healthcare costs.
• Bicycles are enjoyable – even occasional bike duty improves morale.
• Bicycles are cost-effective – the average cost per bike is approximately $1200, a fraction of the cost of a cruiser, an ambulance, or any other motorized vehicle – and the annual maintenance costs are low.
• Bicycles are environmentally-friendly – no fossil fuels or emissions, and less parking surface is needed.”
While there are no disadvantages mentioned in the article, the advantages are clear and can be assumed to outweigh the cons of using bicycles. This is especially true in an urban setting where the items mentioned above are applicable and surely gives police and other first responders an advantage. In the Philippines, where the image of a bad or corrupt police officer is one who has bulging tummy, more physically fit and approachable officers on bicycles will surely improve the image of the PNP and other traffic enforcers as well.
Quezon City’s Green Transport Office Bike Patrol
Bisikleta Iglesia – Visita Iglesia on a bicycle
I read this post shared by a former student-advisee about a Bisikleta Iglesia being organized in Quezon City. Here are some information I got from the post:
More details on their Facebook page:
Of course, if you’re more into longer distance rides and even older churches, there are other routes to consider around Metro Manila. Manila alone would have so many churches to include in a Visita Iglesia itinerary such as the Manila Cathedral, San Agustin Church, Binondo Church, Sto. Nino Shrine, Paco Church, San Sebastián, Remedios, St. Jude, San Miguel and Quiapo (Black Nazarene). I will look for other itineraries shared and try to share them here before Holy Thursday. For those who are more adventurous, I share an old post (April 2019) about a bike able itinerary in Rizal:
Quezon City’s bike ramps
This is a very late post on bicycle facilities. I took a few photos of the bike ramps Quezon City installed on the stairs of pedestrian footbridges in the city. I am sharing a couple of these photos here for reference.
The bike ramp allows one to roll his/her bicycle with relative ease up and down the footbridge. Otherwise or without the ramps, cyclists would have to carry their bikes up and down the stairs.
The landing for the the bike ramp at the foot of the stairs.
It’s quite obvious in the photos that the space along the stairs is quite constrained. Ideally, perhaps there should be two ramps – one for going up and another for going down. One ramp means one cyclist will have to wait for another or others to go up or down before proceeding to use the ramp. Perhaps this highlights the need to re-imagine the designs of footbridges. The current designs are not inclusive or equitable for all users. But whether footbridges are required in the first place is another matter.
Recent transport features of fast-food restaurants
We went to a McDonald’s drive thru a couple of weeks ago to get some food before picking up our daughter at her school. We decided to go a new branch along the way from the office and found a new feature at the fastfood chain’s parking area – electric vehicle charging stations. There were two slots where e-vehicles can re-charge while owners eat at the branch.
Electric vehicle charging station at the new McDonald’s branch along Sumulong Highway (Mambugan, Antipolo)
Bike dining station – you can park your bike at one side and have a comfy seat while eating and drinking on the other side
The bike and dine is not a new feature but one that McDo has installed in many of their new branches and retrofitted old one with during the pandemic. Still, we hope they have this in and the charging stations in most if not all their standalone branches. Of course, other chains should follow suit especially rival Jollibee, which has more branches and an even wider network of companies (e.g., Chowking, Greenwich, etc.) under it. This will help in promoting both cycling and e-vehicles.
On the need to change mindsets about bike lanes
Public acceptance of bike lanes has grown during the pandemic. Prior to the pandemic, there were few supporters especially among local government units and national agencies that seem to be comfortable with the status quo. Few like Iloilo and Marikina had any bike facilities worth mentioning. The pandemic was supposed to change that and it did for many. However, the acceptance and the gains seem to be eroding as we return to face-to-face activities and the ‘old’ normal situation.
I’m sharing below an article on the need to change mindsets about bike lanes and cycling in general:
Thompson, C. (January 24, 2023) “The Battle Over Bike Lanes Needs a Mindset Shift,” Wired, https://www.wired.com/story/the-battle-over-bike-lanes-needs-a-mindset-shift/ [Last accessed: 1/27/2023]
To quote from the article:
“Maybe bike lanes will always be fraught, until enough of the public is finally in a true lather about climate change—and it seems reckless to not have them.
Crises, after all, have a way of opening people’s eyes to possibilities. During Covid, restaurants and cafés lost so much business that cities nationwide began allowing them to build curbside seating areas where people could sit, safely, in the open air. It greatly reduced parking—but because, well, crisis, shop owners didn’t see any way around it. Patrons loved the outdoor seating so much that cities are making it permanent: A New York City study of several streets closed during Covid found storeowners making more than before, and diners digging the al fresco lifestyle. If data won’t change minds, customers might.”
There are two opposing sides on this matter. On one side are advocates who naturally will push for bike lanes and will promote them as The solution (emphasis mine) rather than one of a cocktail to address the transport mess we are in. On the other side are conservative, status quo types (or car-lovers as bike advocates will call them) who believe cars should have the roads to themselves. Unfortunately, many in government and particularly in transport agencies are with the latter. Perhaps they should be the first ones that need to be converted to favor active transport?
On getting started on bike commuting
Here is another article on bike commuting. It really is a challenge to get people into bike commuting even if their workplaces or schools are close to their homes. What more for people who have to travel longer distances between their homes and workplaces or schools?
Bassett, E. (December 1, 2022) “The No B.S. Guide to Getting Started Bike Commuting,” Medium, https://erikbassett.medium.com/the-no-b-s-guide-to-getting-started-bike-commuting-5dd0cbb87e5b [Last accessed:
To quote from the article:
“Assume you’re invisible until proven otherwise.
Like every city I’ve lived or ridden in, yours probably paints pictures on the ground and calls them “bicycle infrastructure.” Road designs encourage excess speed; vehicles aren’t meaningfully separated from cyclists and pedestrians; there are conflicting rights-of-way at intersections, driveways, and so forth.
And that is not right. It’s a sad commentary on urban “planning” in most places that anything but car use requires this degree of paranoia. It points to a profound dysfunction that few (with any serious influence) are willing or even interested to change…yet.
But unless or until it improves, the only viable response is to assume you don’t exist in the eyes of whoever’s driving nearby. “If I weren’t here, would they gun it to make a right turn on red?” Well, assume they will. “If I weren’t here, would they merge up there?” You guessed it: assume they will.
This is unquestionably the worst aspect of bike commuting, and if it’s too stressful in your situation, that’s perfectly fine. But in the spirit of a “no-B.S.” guide, I’d be remiss not to drive home a life-saving lesson that all these years of cycling have so deeply ingrained in me.”
The author also states the difference between bike commuting and sports biking including noting the differences in the objectives or goals for each.
Another definition of the 15-minute city
We begin 2023 with an informative article defining the “15-minute city”. This is actually an entry in Planetizen’s Planopedia, which contains definitions of fundamental concepts in urban planning:
Ionescu, D. (December 2022) “What is a 15-minute City?” Planetizen, https://www.planetizen.com/definition/15-minute-city?utm_source=newswire&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=news-12292022&mc_cid=ee083e2ee7&mc_eid=9ccfe464b1 [Last accessed: 1/1/2023]
I’ve written and shared articles about this concept before. Here are a couple from 2021 where I offered my opinions about the concept as already applied in the Philippines:
Examples of legislative actions in support of active transport
While the Philippine government and various local government units seem to be reneging on their commitments to support active transport, other countries have been building on their gains during the pandemic. Here are examples of legislations in New York State that will support active transport through funding of complete streets projects and institutional arrangements for representation of transit dependent individual:
The article is about two legislations:
Legislation (S.3897/A.8936-A) Provides Funding for “Complete Streets” Projects Inclusive of a Holistic Approach to Street Design
Legislation (S.3959-B/A.7822-C) Adds Board Seats to NFTA, RGRTA, CDTA, and Central New York Regional Airport Authority Dedicated to a Transit Dependent Individual
We hope to see something like these at least at the local level. Perhaps if LGUs are able to legislate and implement these, there will be more good practice examples that will compel national government to support active transport development. The latter is actually ironic considering that many plans are supposed to spell out the national government’s commitment to active transport. There are still live memorandum orders and department orders supporting and promoting active transport. Are these also being waylaid? That will be tragic for transportation if we didn’t learn or gain anything from the experiences during this pandemic.
On the future of bike lanes in Metro Manila and other cities and municipalities in the Philippines
My friends and I were talking about the current buzz about the bike lanes including statements made by certain personalities (influencers, advocates, government officials, etc.) about biking and bike lanes. There were many recent pronouncements of motorcycles being allowed to use bike lanes or the outright removal of bike lanes. We all agreed this was backward and the way forward is to build on the current network and facilities. What we have in our cities and municipalities are not perfect and far from ideal but they are a start and perhaps the foundation for a bikeway network that can eventually make a dent on the car-centric transportation we have.
I share below the strategies, actions and targets for bicycle facilities, programs and projects from the Network Planning for the Establishment of Bike Lanes in Metro Manila, Metro Cebu and Metro Davao that was completed middle of 2022. The project is DOTr’s with support from the UNDP. The table is from the Final Report of the project.
A Happy Christmas to all!