SP Highlights: Naga Bicycle Ordinance
In 2016, the Naga City Police Office recorded 50 cyclists who were injured in accidents. In the same year, the entire country saw 196 persons killed and 7,464 persons injured and disabled due to bike accidents. Without necessary interventions, cyclists will continually be exposed to risks. Hence, this representation, together with Councilor Joselito S.A. del Rosario, has written and sponsored the Naga Bicycle Ordinance. Enacted on May 16, 2017 during the council’s 43rd Regular Session, Ordinance No. 2017-030 seeks to recognize the right of cyclists to safe road conditions, as well as advance cycling as a mode of transportation and as a means to promote healthy lifestyle and love for the environment. On enhancing road safety, the Naga Bike Ordinance envisions the designation of bicycle lanes of about 1.5 meters in all national roads and city primary and secondary roads in Naga. Naturally, cyclists shall be given priority in the use of these bike lanes and, thus, parking a vehicle and creating obstruction on the same shall be punishable. There is also a prescribed distance between cars and bicycles. Car drivers are required to maintain no less than three (3) meters from a bicycle in front or at the back, as well as no less than one and a half (1.5) meters beside it while driving. On the part of the cyclists, we discourage operating a bicycle at a speed greater than 30 kilometers per hour within Central Business Districts 1 and 2 and in such areas where any applicable law or regulation so provides, except, of course, on the occasion of or during bike sports or promotional events. Aside from bicycle lanes, bicycle parking with bike racks and iron hooks will also be provided by the city government in appropriate public places, public schools, and government offices. Private schools, major business establishments, especially malls, banks, restaurants, hospitals, and the like, are likewise urged to provide similar facility. On promoting cycling as an alternative mode of transportation, the Naga Bicycle Ordinance mandates the Arts, Culture, and Tourism Office to establish and implement a program that will promote Naga as a Bike-Friendly City. An educational program shall also be instituted to increase the people‘s awareness on bike safety and road sharing. We also institutionalize the city’s Bike-to-Work Program, as well as strengthen collaboration with the Department of Education’s Bike-to-School Program. November is declared as Naga’s Bicycle Month. In this time of the year, Less Car Days shall be declared wherein selected roads of Naga shall be closed to motor vehicles and be declared available only to bicycles. Activities and competitions for bike enthusiasts shall also be conducted in said month. As many cyclists are complaining about the bicycle plate being given to them by the city government upon registration of their bikes, the ordinance replaces it with a sticker and road ID. The sticker must be placed at the rear of the bike and exposed to public view, while the road ID, which shall contain contact details in case of emergency, must be worn by the cyclist on his wrist. Consistent with our adherence to participatory governance, the ordinance also creates a Bicycle Board. Headed by the City Mayor and co-chaired by the City Vice Mayor, the Board shall consist of the respective presidents of the Transport Bike Club, Sports-Tourism Bike Club and Health-Wellness Bike Club, the Chair of SP Committee on Transport, the City Engineer, the Public Safety Officer, the City Planning and Development Officer, the Chief of Naga City Police Office and a representative from Land Transportation Office. Given its composition, we highly encourage all bike organizations in Naga to organize themselves into clubs depending on the primary purpose or use of their bicycles. Participation of bike enthusiasts is crucial since in every major decision that the Board will adopt, we have expressly provided that a representative of the cycling community must be in actual attendance during its deliberation for such decision to be valid and binding. Among the crucial tasks of the Board, aside from ensuring the effective implementation of the ordinance, are the endorsement of the designs of the sticker and Road ID, planning of the activities to be held in the Bicycle Month, and the approval of the Development Plan of the Bike Park to be constructed in a city government-owned lot. The Naga Bicycle Ordinance is ultimately geared towards the protection of cyclists and promotion of their welfare and, consequently, that of the general public. Hence, a series of public consultations conducted from November 2016 to February 2017 was done to ensure that provisions of the ordinance captures the sentiments and needs of the cycling enthusiasts, working classes and other stakeholders. Though it may take some time to fully materialize the letters thereof, given that the desired cycling infrastructures shall be incorporated in the Naga City 30-Year Sustainable Urban Development Plan, passage of the ordinance ensures that we shall see them sooner rather than later.