DAVAO CITY (MindaNews / 20 June) – Mayor Sara Duterte has ordered the temporary suspension of bicycle registration and collection of fees effective immediately as more Dabawenyos use bicycles to commute amid the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic.
Executive Order 40 released on Friday said the city government will allow the use of bicycle lanes during the period of suspension while the City Council of Davao harmonizes the conflicting provisions in the Comprehensive Transport and Traffic Code pertaining to bicycles and the 2010 Bicycle Ordinance of Davao City.
Section 1 of the EO provides that the requirements in the Traffic Code that would be suspended are the license required, registration, and attachment of license plate; and under the Bicycle Ordinance, the registration. The collection of penalties in both local laws have likewise been suspended.
“The temporary suspension of the implementation of some provisions of the two ordinances would allow Dabawenyos the use of the bike lanes without fear of penalty for non-registration,” the order said.
It added that the suspension would last until the state of public health emergency is lifted, or until the amendments harmonizing the Traffic Code and the Bicycle Ordinance have been approved or otherwise lifted by the City Mayor.
In an interview over Davao City Disaster Radio (DCDR) on Friday, Councilor Mabel Acosta, chair of the Committee on Peace and Public Safety, said one of the conflicting provisions in both laws is the provision on registration fees.
The Traffic Code requires bicycle owners to pay an annual registration fee of 150 pesos while under the ordinance it is only 20 pesos a year, she said.
Acosta added that discussions are ongoing with other city councilors, cyclists and environmental groups on how the fees can be harmonized or omitted in the amended version.
Section 4 of EO 40 states that the 72-kilometer bicycle lane marked by the City Transportation and Traffic Management Office may be used by all persons on bicycles, except pedal-operated passenger tricycles for hire.
The order prohibits all motorized transport vehicle to use, park or stop on the marked bicycle lanes while pedestrians are told to avoid walking along the bicycle lanes.
It also requires cyclists to wear helmet, headgear or protective head covering; use reflectors, or headlights, or rear lights or any other warning lights attached to the bicycle or on his/her person; bicycles made for single riders should not carry more than one passenger at a time while tandem bicycles will be allowed only for the capacity for which it is made; riders with cargo will not carry the same with their hands while operating the bike, nor place the same on their handlebars or along the wheelbase; and cargo must be placed in a wearable backpack or on a basket or carrier in front of the handlebars or behind the seat.
The marking of the 72-kilometer bicycle lane is ongoing. Two-way bicycle lanes are to be marked along Ma-a Road, MacArthur Highway, Quimpo Boulevard, Quezon Boulevard, Quirino Avenue, F. Torres St., Cabaguio Avenue, Leon Garcia, JP Laurel Avenue, Quinones Road and R. Castillo St while one way lane will be marked along San Pedro St., Pichon St. and Claro M. Recto Avenue. (Antonio L. Colina IV / MindaNews)