Number of cyclists in PH decreasing

Filipino bikers are 96% male and 4% female

By Sheila Janine Caspe

The number of cyclists in the Philippines decreased by around 25% this year compared to 2022, cycling advocates reported.

A biker’s count project said Tuesday, October 10, there is an estimated 44,000 decrease in the number of cyclists compared to a similar count conducted in the same period last year.

Organizers of said they counted around 147,800 bikers during peak hours in 17 cities across the Philippines, a marked drop from 191,578 in 2022.

Mobility Awards national coordinator Arielle Celine Tabinga said the decline in the number of cyclists have been attributed by volunteers to unsafe road conditions, including deteriorating conditions of bike lanes and encroachment of motorists in designated bike lanes.

Tabinga added that the decrease is also due to the easing of COVID-19 restrictions on public transport and the continuous rains that poured on the days of the count.

The bike count, conducted by 817 volunteers of the Bilang Siklista Bike Count project, also reported that Filipino bikers are 96% male and 4% female.

The count was held during the 4-hour peak times of 6:00 to 8:00 in the morning and 4:00 to 6:00 in the afternoon in June and July.

The bike count report also calculated that 147,800 commuter cyclists save PHP 615,207 in fuel costs from cars and PHP 208,223.80 from motorcycles.

The group added that commuter cyclists reduce the country’s carbon emissions by as much as 36.74 metric tons. 

In a press conference last October 10, Mobility Awards convenors Institute for Climate and Sustainable Cities (ICSC), The Climate Reality Project Philippines, MNL Moves, 350 Pilipinas, called for urgent improvements of transport infrastructure in cities across the country.

They said the improvements must offer safer and more inclusive mobility not only for cyclists but pedestrians and commuters as well.

Department of Transportation (DOTr) program manager Eldon Joshua Dionisio meanwhile said road expansion projects and construction of pedestrian walkways are being initiated by the agency in partnership with the Department of Public Works and Highways.

Dionisio added that the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) is strengthening policies for cyclists’ safety and stricter implementation of laws on loading and unloading areas. #

Cyclists amplify call for safe spaces, end to violence against women

Women’s rights advocates and cycling groups held a bike activity for safe spaces on Valentine’s Day eve to raise awareness on rising cases of sexual harassment and abuse against women, especially against women bikers.

Dubbed the “Ride, dance, unite to end violence against women,” bikers wearing pink and holding pink roses held a 10-kilometer bike in Quezon City.

“Everyday, women cyclists have to deal with unsafe bike commute and even catcalling and sexual harassment on the road. We’re sending a message in this bike activity that this cycle must stop,” said Jessica Reyes, movement building core member of She Decides PH, one of the bike ride organizers.

Reyes added that the proliferation of misogynist comments and posts within bike groups should be called out.

The groups said they chose Quezon City as this year’s bike ride route, noting a 66-percent spike in domestic violence cases and 21-percent increase in rape cases during the first eight months of 2021 in the city.

A young cyclist holds a pink rose to call for safe biking for women and children. (Gabriela photo)

Biking became more popular since the outset of the corona virus pandemic both as transportation and recreation activity.

Quezon City has the most number of bike lanes in the Philippines.

The participating groups however urged local governments to prioritize the construction of more bike lanes and bike parks to encourage more Filipinos to ride bicycles.

Sunday’s bike ride was organized by Women Biker’s for Safe Spaces, Bikers United Movement, Cycle Bros, She Decides Philippines GABRIELA | A National Alliance of Women, Gabriela Women’s Party and One Billion Rising PH.

The participants said their event is part of the OBR annual global dance protest every February 14  to promote awareness and show unity in ending violence against women and children.

OBR Philippines 2022 will be held tomorrow, Monday, February 14, at the Commission on Human Rights grounds in Quezon City. # (Raymund B. Villanueva)