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)