Bike-Friendly Cities

FILIPINOS have always loved bicycle not only as a mode of exercise and recreation but also as a cheap mode of daily transportation.

Perhaps, each Filipino household has a bike or two, or at least one in every Filipino household whether young or old must have biked sometime in his or her lives.

And with the skyrocketing prices of gasoline and horrible traffic congestion nowadays, commuting by bicycle seems a good way to save some money.  Besides, commuting by bicycle will also keep us healthy and happy.
In the past decades, our lowly bicycle has taken different forms ranging from mountain bikes, racing bikes, tandem bikes, utility bikes to folding bikes.  Things are getting pretty exciting these days as we see a lot of people taking a fresher and newer interest on bicycles.

Even in the busy streets of Makati City, you will see people commuting by bicycle on their way to work or on their home.  In Malabon City, you will also see so many Japanese surplus bicycles being cheaply sold along the streets.

That is why we are all for the Senate proposal granting tax incentives to individuals, business establishments, schools and other institutions in order to encourage and promote commuting by bicycles, especially within the confines of our towns.

Under the Senate proposal, employees who regularly use bicycles or other non-motorized transport vehicle as a means of transport to and from their places of work shall be entitled to an annual tax deduction amounting to Php2,500 from their gross income.

Likewise, expenses incurred by employers, companies, business establishments and other institutions in providing bike-friendly facilities and programs, including the bike-to-work program, shall be deducted from their gross income.

But while this Senate proposal may warrant our unequivocal support, there is another aspect of the measure that should also be given equal attention, foremost of which is the safety of our municipal or city roads.

Our local governments should be able to address the lack, if not at all absence, of safety measures not only among the individual cyclist but also, most importantly, on the hazardous paths or dangerous structures built on our roads and streets.

In addition, our local governments should be able to put up bold signs and safe parking rails for our bicycles if we are to encourage bicycling among our ordinary commuters and promote it among owners of small and big business establishments, schools and other institutions.

Yes, make our cities bike-friendly!

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