[B-SIDE Podcast] Biking the city

b side podcast biking the city - [B-SIDE Podcast] Biking the city

When public transportation was suspended to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, people turned to biking as a means of getting from one place to another.

Thousands of bikes were donated to frontliners and essential workers who initially were walking to work. This June, bike lanes popped up along EDSA, the busiest highway in Metro Manila.

Bike commuters like Karen Sison hope that this is the beginning of a bike revolution. Ms. Sison is a member of Cycling Matters, a group that describes itself as “a happy collective of cyclists who have gotten tired of just waiting and ranting about how unhappy our local biking conditions can be.”

Ms. Sison tells BusinessWorld reporter Patricia B. Mirasol what kind of infrastructure Metro Manila needs to become a bike-friendly city. Bikes are “the most accessible, sustainable, and responsible mode of transportation,” she added, making a case for integrating bikes with buses, jeeps, and trains in a bi-modal transportation system.

TAKEAWAYS

Cities should be designed with people, not cars, in mind. 

The Philippines is a car-centric society and it shows in our infrastructure. Decision-makers should rethink urban design and put people at the center. Aside from being more walkable, cities planned with people in mind have a dedicated network of bike lanes and reliable mass transit.

Bicycles complement—not replace—other forms of public transport.

Bicycles aren’t meant to replace public transportation. Cycling complements mass transit — buses, jeeps, trains — in a bi-modal transportation system. 

Cycling is the most accessible, sustainable, and responsible mode of transportation.

Anyone can get a secondhand bike for P2,500. A bike is easier — and cheaper — to maintain than a car, and it has a lower carbon footprint. 

When buying a bike, remember that it isn’t one-size-fits-all.

A few factors to consider when buying a bike: who will use it (the measurements of the bike should be appropriate for the build of its owner), where it will be used (road bikes are different from mountain bikes are different from commuter bikes), and how much load it will carry.  

This episode was recorded remotely on August 13. Produced by Nina M. Diaz, Paolo L. Lopez, and Sam L. Marcelo.

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