Bikers and residents in Quezon City welcomed the move by the city government to reduce fine for bicycle riders caught not wearing a helmet.
Despite the reduced fine, netizens expressed hope that bicycle riders will still comply with the mandatory wearing of helmets since it is for their own safety.
“With or without fine, bikers should follow and wear proper helmets most especially because this is for their own safety,” netizens Meanne Enriquez and Xymone Manalo wrote in Filipino on Facebook.
On Tuesday, the QC government, in a Facebook post, said the QC council heeded the call of its citizens and decided to prioritize the safety of bike riders and reduced the fine for those not wearing safety helmets.
Quezon City Mayor Joy Belmonte has lauded the move, saying: “Ito’y patunay na bukas ang tainga at handang kumilos ang ating konseho upang matugunan ang hinaing ng ating mamamayan (this is proof that our council is listening and is ready to respond to the call of our constituents)”.
To recall, some groups wrote to the QC government expressing their strong disagreement with Ordinance No. SP-2942–2020 which requires bicycle riders to wear helmets while traveling within QC.
The groups, composed of MNL Moves, the Institute for Climate and Sustainable Cities (ICSC), 350.org Pilipinas, and The Climate Reality Project Philippines, said they are a community of cyclists and pedestrians that works to make active mobility easier and safer in Metro Manila.
They said in their letter that the policy is “discriminatory to the detriment of working people who are just trying to get by during this pandemic”.
Belmonte said the purpose of the ordinance is neither to discriminate nor to burden bicycle riders but to assure their safety.
From PHP1,000, PHP3,000, and PHP5,000, the reduced fines are now set at PHP300, PHP500, and PHP1,000 for the first, second, and third offense, respectively.
Meanwhile, some bikers also requested that bike lanes in the city should also be made safe.
“Kahit na full battle gear kaming nagba-bike kung di naman ligtas at maayos ang bike lane, useless din lahat (even if we are in full battle gear but if these bike lanes are not safe, then everything is useless),” netizen Yan Lopez Hua Qin said in a post.
Lawrence Celestino, meanwhile, said bike lanes must be separated.
“It would have been better if the money is used for building a separate bike lane instead of separating it only with the use of paint,” Celestino said in his post.
The use of bicycles as a mode of transportation in going to and from work became popular since the onset of Covid-19.
Belmonte said to support bikers, the city government should give them safer lanes and at the same time, educate them to make their journey more pleasant and comfortable. (PNA)