There’s a Need to Support E-bikes and Bikes

According to data from the NPD Group, an estimated 6.4 million electric bikes were sold in the United States in 2022. This is a significant increase from 2019, when only 1.9 million electric bikes were sold. According to a report from Electric Bike Report, global e-bike sales are expected to reach 36.5 million units in 2022, representing a compound annual growth rate of 13%.

According to the Philippine Statistics Authority, 2.29 million bicycles were sold in the Philippines in 2022, representing a 6.5 percent increase from the previous year. This was the third-highest level of bicycle sales in the country’s history. Most of the bicycles sold in the Philippines in 2022 were mountain bikes, followed by road bikes, children’s bikes, and hybrid models. Additionally, electric bicycles saw a significant surge in popularity, with sales more than doubling from the previous year.

We have to look at these numbers on how we can support not just to lessen consumption of bio-fuel but as an opportunity to encourage health and wellness but are we ready to support this?

“National Bicycle Act of 2019” (Senate Bill No. 2170) which seeks to promote the use of bicycles as an alternative mode of transportation in the country.

The proposed bill aims to establish a national bicycle program, which includes the development of bicycle infrastructure such as bike lanes, parking facilities, and other facilities that would make cycling safe and accessible for Filipinos. The bill also seeks to require local government units to include bicycles in their transportation plans, as well as promote the use of bicycles in schools, workplaces, and other public spaces.

The bill also includes provisions for the safety of cyclists, such as requiring the use of helmets and reflective clothing, as well as imposing penalties for reckless driving that endangers cyclists.

As of March 2023, the bill is still pending in the Philippine Senate, and has not yet been passed into law.

The National Bicycle Act of 2019 (Senate Bill No. 2170) was primarily authored by Senator Pia Cayetano, who is a known advocate of cycling and sustainable transportation. Other senators also co-authored the bill, including Senators Ralph Recto, Sonny Angara, and Francis Pangilinan, among others.

Under her bill, the Department of Transportation (DOTr) and Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH), in coordination with local government units shall take the lead in designated bicycle lanes, which shall serve as an exclusive passage for cyclists. Motor vehicles will be prohibited from being driven or parked on any bike lane.

The bike lanes shall be separated by a physical barrier, whenever possible, and shall be clearly identified with signs or pavement markings. In cases where the installation of a physical barrier is not feasible, the lane for bicycles shall be identified through reflectorized painted lines.

Bike promotion measures also include improvements on sidewalks, traffic calming, and speed reduction, pedestrian and bicycle crossing, traffic signages covering bicycles, off-street pedestrian and bicycle facilities, and traffic diversion, among others.

Cayetano’s bill mandates all public places, government offices, schools, and major business establishments, including malls, banks, restaurants, hospitals, and the like, to provide adequate racks for bike parking and other infrastructure as far as practicable.

Meanwhile, the private sector will be encouraged to develop counterpart infrastructure, facilities and programs to help promote biking.

Aside from the Bicycle Act, Cayetano has also filed complementary measures, including the Sustainable Transportation Act (SBN 65) and the Sustainable Cities and Communities Act (SBN 66).

“Even before the pandemic, there has been a lack of education both from the government as well as the private sector on the safety of cyclists. The reason for this is the absence of any law governing cycling and cycling safety standards,” Fortun as quoted in his interview with PhilSTAR Life.

Fortun said that bills pushing for road safety for bicycles have been filed as early as 2011, such as Senate Bill 2688 titled “Bicycle Act of 2011” by Sen. Manny Villar, S.B. 2789 titled “Bicycle Friendly Communities” by the late Sen. Miriam Defensor-Santiago, S.B. 2924 titled “Bicycle Commuters Incentive” by Sen. BongBong Marcos, and S.B. 2936 entitled “Sustainable Transport Act” by Sen. Pia Cayetano.  But none has been passed into law.

Based on monitoring data from the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority or MMDA, the total number of bicycle accidents last year shot up to 2,606, from 1,759 the previous year. This was also the first time that bicycle accidents went past 2,000 since the MMDA began tracking data in 2009, where it started at 1,111 that year.

As economic developments continue to boom in provinces like Central Luzon, it is important for our community and local government to support sustainable transportation options, such as e-bikes and biking, as a means of reducing carbon emissions and mitigating the impacts of climate change. With continuous oil price increases, it is becoming increasingly expensive to rely solely on traditional forms of transportation that require fossil fuels. By promoting e-bikes and biking, we can help to reduce our dependence on fossil fuels and make transportation more affordable and accessible for all.

Investing in cycling infrastructure and promoting the use of e-bikes can also have significant economic benefits. Studies have shown that biking and walking infrastructure can increase property values, attract new businesses, and create jobs. Additionally, promoting sustainable transportation options can lead to improved public health outcomes by encouraging physical activity and reducing air pollution.

By supporting e-bikes and biking as alternative modes of transportation, we can create a more sustainable and livable community that benefits both our local economy and the environment.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s