DOTr wants facilities put up to encourage students, employees to ride bicycles to school

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This week saw the start of face-to-face classes and with it the expected levels of Carmageddon. Even with the reimplementation of the Modified Coding Scheme, motorists and students were still caught in traffic. Bicycles have quickly become the transportation of choice for many given these daily jams, and now the Department of Transportation (DOTr) wants to make it easier for bicyclists.

The DOTr has come out with a sound proposal and it involves schools constructing what they call End-of-Trip (EoT) facilities on-ground for the benefit of those who take a bicycle to school. But what exactly is an EoT facility and how is it supposed to help?

Students, employees who ride a bicycle to school must have EoT facilities for their and their bikes’ comfort and protection

Bike Lane Sign Min Bicycle Dotr Eot Facility Inline 01

As we know, bicycles may be the quickest way to get to and from one’s destination. Granted that our roads and most of our motorists just aren’t ready to “share the road”, the DOTr’s idea may just be one way to make it worthwhile for the “padyakers”.

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To promote the use of active mobility for students and school employees, the DOTr is urging the Department of Education and Commission on Higher Education to direct primary, secondary, and tertiary educational institutions to establish End-of-Trip (EoT) facilities in anticipation of the increased demand for transportation due to the opening of in-person classes for Academic Year 2022-2023.

EoTs are defined by DOTr Secretary Jaime Bautista as “facilities which include parking spaces for bicycles— sheds, bike racks, as well as showers, will encourage students, teachers, and other school personnel to use existing bicycle lanes.”

Yes, this is meant for schoolgoers whether students or employees. It’s worth noting that under Department Order No. 2020-014, children up to 15 years of age can utilize bicycle lanes along national and primary roads, provided that an adult cyclist accompanies them. The MMDA has been promoting bicycling quite heavily, and at least this proposal includes a broader age group.

“Road safety is of paramount importance. As students return to face-to-face classes, they are subjected yet again to vulnerability on the road. With this, we would like to remind all our motorists to share the road for the safety of all other road users, especially our cyclists and pedestrians— including our learners,” Mark Steven C. Pastor, DOTr Undersecretary for Road Transport and Infrastructure

Bgc Biker Sidewalk Min Bicycle Dotr Eot Facility Inline 02

But how do we ensure that educational institutions will put up EoTs and that those who do choose to take a bicycle to school are protected? To ensure their safety, the DOTr has also appealed to the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG), the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA), and the Land Transportation Office (LTO) to deploy additional traffic enforcers and marshals at school zones in the upcoming resume of classes. This may get a bit tricky, but again, the DOTr seems to be thinking ahead.

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Now it all just boils down to compliance, implementation, and if it will actually be a viable means to 1. get to school and 2. relieve motor vehicle traffic along the thoroughfares.

Honestly, these are ideas that we could get behind and support. With a little bit more planning, maybe it can be part of the greater solution to promote bicycle lanes and bicycle transportation to ease traffic congestion in Metro Manila.

Yay, or nay? What do you think?

Mikko Juangco
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