Booster C Energy Shot

Choose your shot

Pushing for protected bike lanes: MMDA tests cycling lane on EDSA anew

Booster C was invited as MMDA’s partner in their test run of a protected bike lane on EDSA last August 15. We gave out Booster C Energy Shot PROTECT to bike commuters traversing the roads that day and even spoke with the project’s organizers. Read our account of the project below.

Pushing for protected bike lanes: MMDA tests cycling lane on EDSA anew

The Metro Manila Development Authority (MMDA), together with cycling advocates and organizations, once again test run a protected bicycle lane, Saturday, August 15.

The experiment, which sees parts of EDSA Aurora Boulevard to Magallanes (southbound) have segmented-off bike lanes protected by bollards, will run until August 18. This aims to give MMDA insights for upcoming policies and programs that “make cycling safe and easier as a transport choice.”

Senators as well as national government agencies Department of Local Government and Department of Transport have been pushing for bike lanes to be set up across the capital’s cities.

This prompted the MMDA to set up their first protected bike lane along EDSA White Plains to Bonny Serrano (northbound) last May. This was followed a month later by painting temporary bike lanes on more parts of Metro Manila’s main artery.

Safe and Coherent Cycling Networks

However, five months into not having a fully operational mass public transport, the cycling public clamor for more permanent plans on building a safe and coherent cycling network in Metro Manila.

Jan-Daniel Belmonte of Cycling Matters, a group of cyclists and active advocate of protected bike lanes, noted the poor conditions of cycling lanes in the metro.

He said, “There are a lot of obstacles like mga manholes, mga lubak, mga gutters that need to be fixed, [even] once they place the protected bike lanes with the bollards.”

While on experiment phase, the bike lanes are manned by MMDA officers to ensure motorists are not entering it, and likewise reminding cyclists of road safety rules.

Adolfo Manaog, another bike commuter who has been riding to work since community quarantine loosened back in June, also shared how hard it is to bike without proper planned lanes put in place.

“Putol-putol ‘yung bike lane, hindi continuously na diretso… Sa bangketa lang ako nagpapatakbo ng bisikleta,” shared Manaog in an interview with “Sana magkaroon na ng bike lane para hindi na rin kami madisgrasya.”

Like Manaog, Belmonte remains hopeful and vigilant that concrete, immediate plans will be put to work.

“We should acknowledge that the MMDA is trying what’s within their power… There is still a lot to work on, and I believe that they are planning to address those.”

Riding Towards Shared Roads

An equally important task at hand is changing motorists’ behavior towards cyclists and bike lanes.

MMDA Bike Lane Program Head Ponciana Salinas believes that this also plays a big part in truly protecting bike commuters.

“Kahit walang nakalagay na mga bollard, o sign lang nakalagay… [kailangan] ma-recognize na ng mga tao na there is an existing bike lane,” said Salinas. “Sana naman magkaroon sila ng courtesy na ang mga siklista ay road users din.”

MMDA Bike Lane Program Head Ponciana Salinas believes that to truly protect bike commuters, motorists must also do their part and respect shared roads.

Belmonte and Cycling Matters echo this sentiment. A turning point for their advocacy as a group was encountering an injured cyclist along EDSA. The cyclist was a hit-and-run victim, rear-ended by a car, with the driver wrongfully accusing the biker of not having the right to ride along EDSA.

Posting the account social media, they were glad to see the outpour of sympathy not just from cyclists, but also drivers. “So we all play a huge role in making roads safer,” concluded Belmonte.

“As Cycling Matters, we’re not against cars. We need your understanding because we share the same right to the road. Let’s understand that cyclists are vulnerable road users—they’re not protected by a metal shell,” adds Belmonte.

Belmonte used to drive a car around, until he decided to get rid of it in favor of bike commuting. This allowed him and Cycling Matters to be understanding of motorists, while knowing how they can work together towards safe, shared roads.

Belmonte also reassures motorists that they are keeping their community in check, making sure cyclists are also following road rules and respecting fellow users.

“Especially the new ones o mga hindi pa mga masyadong sanay: five months ago, [they] probably thought na bawal mag-bike sa kalsada. They found their freedom, and there are rules they still need to be acquainted with.”

What do you think of these efforts by the MMDA? As a bike commuter or even just an advocate of safer roads for all, what do you wish to see in the next few months? Share your thoughts in our Facebook page:

Booster C is for Bike Commuting (#BCforBC), and we support efforts by our government agencies and cycling advocates to create protected bike lanes and safer roads for all.