Senate approves pop-up bike lanes bill on 2nd reading

By: Christia Marie Ramos - | January 26,2021 - 07:42 AM

San Juan City opens its new pop-up bike lanes on June 3, 2020, World Bicycle Day, as part of the city government’s efforts to promote cycling among residents. — INQUIRER FILE/GRIG C. MONTEGRANDE

MANILA, Philippines — The Senate on Monday approved on second reading a proposed law that aims to establish a network of pop-up bicycle lanes and safe emergency pathways for the use of non-motorized vehicles.

During the plenary session, legislators approved Senate Bill No. 1582 or the proposed Safe Pathways Act, which if enacted into law will mandate local government units (LGUs) –in consultation with the Departments of Transportation (DOTr) and Public Works and Highways (DPWH) – to “identify and create a network of bicycle lanes which may be temporary or permanent in nature.”

The temporary lanes, alternatively known as “pop-up lanes,” should be set up “whenever possible, during the COVID-19 pandemic or whenever other emergency situations may arise,” the bill noted.

“Motorcycles, tricycles and other similar modes of transport, whether powered by gas or electricity are prohibited from using the bicycle lanes,” according to the bill.

The use of electric personal mobility, however, would be allowed subject to the guidelines set by the LGUs in consultation with DOTr, it added.

| Sen. Pia Cayetano /Albert Calvelo/Senate PRIB

‘Slow streets’

The proposed  measure also provided for the creation of “slow streets” to “complement the network of bicycle lanes.”

The LGUs are likewise tasked to create a designated network of people-oriented “slow streets,” which may be temporary or permanent along local roads, in order to “provide pedestrians and non-motorized vehicle users safe and convenient access to frequented destinations.”

Speed limits and access of motorized vehicles in “slow streets” would be determined by the concerned LGU, the bill said.

Meanwhile, motor vehicles of residents’ delivery and trash collection vehicles servicing the area of the slow streets and emergency services shall have access to “slow streets” subject to restrictions to be imposed by LGUs.

“Slow streets shall be clearly marked with signage specifying the restrictions. The DOTr and the DPWH shall identify priority areas for implementation,” according to the bill.

Senator Pia Cayetano, who filed and sponsored the bill in the plenary, said the measure “will really change lives.”

“It will promote the use of bikes not just for sports or leisure, but as a healthy & safe mode of transportation,” she said over Twitter following the second reading approval of the proposed law.

“Biking is good for one’s health as a form of exercise. It’s also good for the environment, since it emits less toxins in the air,” she added.

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TAGS: 2nd reading, safe emergency pathways, senate approved pop-up bike lanes bill

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