Environment group dismayed by motorists’ lack of respect for bike lanes

DAVAO CITY (MindaNews / 12 Sept) —  The environmental group Interface Development Intervention for Sustainability (IDIS) is dismayed by motorists’ lack of respect for the bicycle lanes demarcated for the use of cyclists and other light mobility vehicles such as e-bikes or kick scooters.

Lawyer Mark Peñalver, executive director of IDIS, told MindaNews that the cycling community here has noticed that several motorcyclists continue to take the bicycle lanes as “fast lanes,” particularly during peak hours, and as parking spaces of some cars to the prejudice of cyclists.

A bike commuter uses the bicycle lane along Roxas Avenue in Davao City on Wednesday ( 21 July 2021). Mindanews Photo

“IDIS, along with our partner biking community, has noticed that bike lanes are used by motorcyclists when overtaking or using the same as a fast lane. More so, we have also noted that there are still motorists who are using the bicycle lanes as parking spaces defeating the purpose for which they were developed,” he said.

He emphasized the need to strengthen the information and education campaign to educate the public, especially motorists, on the purpose of the bicycle lanes.

He told the motorists to share the road.

“It is time to inculcate into the minds of the road users that roads are shared with everyone,” he said.

He said the provision on the bicycle lane has been incorporated in the amended “Amended Bicycle and Light Mobility Vehicle Ordinance of Davao City,” which was passed by the Sangguniang Panlungsod last July 19.

Peñalver, an environmental lawyer, said paragraph 2 of Section 9 of this ordinance prohibits motorized vehicles are not allowed “to use, stop, or park on marked bicycle lanes” but is “silent as to the prosecution of this act.”

He said his group has yet to get the response of  Mayor Sara Duterte whether she has already signed the ordinance.

A biker is forced to take the middle part of Leon Garcia St. in Davao City on Wednesday (24 June 2020) because he could not use the bike lane on the right which has been occupied by jeepneys and trucks.  MindaNews photo by GG BUENO

Last September 6, Duterte told the Davao City Disaster Radio (DCDR 87.5) that she has been receiving complaints and reports from cyclists that the bike lanes are being used  mostly by motorists.

“May I remind the motorists that when you say bicycle lanes, it does not mean ‘motorcycle,’ it means ‘bicycles’ which are pedal-driven. So, you are not supposed to, especially when you overtake, use the bicycle lanes,” she said.

Last July 20, the Department of Transportation (DOTr) inaugurated the 54.74-kilometer Metro Davao Bike Lane Network in this city to provide a “safer road” for cyclists amid the pandemic.

The P145 million project, funded by the Republic Act 11494, also known as the Bayanihan to Recover as One Act of 2020, was completed on June 30.

The bicycle lane network is a convergence project of the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) and DOTr.

According to the data released by DPWH-Davao, the bicycle lane network was placed along Davao-Cotabato Road, ABS-CBN Quimpo Boulevard Diversion Road, Sandawa Road, Roxas Avenue, Quezon Avenue, Elpidio Qurinio Avenue, E. Jacinto Extension Street. Dr. A. Gahol St., Mabini Street, F. Torres Street, Loyola Street, Porras Street, Iñigo Street, and Nicasio Street. (Antonio L. Colina IV / MindaNews)