The San Juan City government on Thursday launched a modified bike lane and a dedicated motorcycle lane along Ortigas Avenue and deployed personnel with body cameras to enforce local ordinances amid the coronavirus disease (Covid-19) pandemic.
Mayor Francis Zamora said the initiative targets to provide a safe transportation option for bikers and motorcycle riders within the city.
The city government has installed bollards, which are visual barriers guiding traffic toward lanes dedicated to bikers and motorcycle riders.
“Ang iniisip natin ngayon yung kaligtasan ng mga nagbibisikleta lalo na ngayon panahon ng Covid-19, alam naman natin hindi pa rin full ang operation ng ating public transportation (We are thinking about the safety of the cyclists, particularly in this time of Covid-19 pandemic, as we know that public transportation is not in full operation yet),” Zamora said.
Meanwhile, Zamora urged residents to use bicycles as alternative transportation while public transportation is still limited in the city.
Riding bicycles could help a person maintain physical fitness and a healthy lifestyle, he said, adding that it reduces air pollution.
Zamora said police bike patrollers, traffic enforcers, and Task Force Disiplina equipped with body cameras will be deployed on the roads to maintain the minimum health standards in the city.
Bike patrollers are tasked to secure the safety of the cyclists, he said.
“Mayroon tayong mga itinalaga na mga traffic enforcer, mga San Juan police na magbabantay dito. Ang importante, tayo po ay naglaan sa kanila ng mga body camera (We deployed traffic enforcers and San Juan police personnel to monitor. We provide them with body cameras),” Zamora said.
The traffic enforcers and Task Force Disiplina are tasked to monitor traffic violations and the strict implementation of the quarantine protocols including wearing of face masks and shields as well as the city’s anti-spitting ordinance, as part of efforts to curb local transmission of Covid-19.
Zamora said the city government is yet to release an ordinance to monitor motorists violating rules for the dedicated bike and motorcycle lanes.
“Since it’s still Day 1 [of implementation]. We will observe first the flow. We will give chance to the people to understand and learn first na dito sa (that here in) San Juan mayroon tayong (we have) dedicated bike lane and dedicated motorcycle lane,” he said.
After a week of observation, Zamora said he will ask the city council to pass an ordinance penalizing motorists who will violate the dedicated lanes.
Zamora recommended penalizing violators with a PHP500 fine for the first offense and PHP2,000 for the second offense.
For the third and succeeding offenses, a violator will be penalized with a PHP5,000 fine.
“Kung masyadong magaan ang multa, hindi ka matatakot iisipin na sige babayaran ko na lang. Kung mataas ang multa sasabihin na sige susunod na lang (If the imposed penalty is too light, you will not be afraid, instead you will just pay for it. If a higher penalty is imposed, people will be urged to follow it),” Zamora said.
Zamora believes the dedicated lanes will help resolve the prevailing traffic issues in San Juan’s busy roads.
“We expect that the flow of traffic will improve with the implementation of lanes here in Ortigas,” he said.
The city government has initially procured 100 body cameras to improve the enforcement of health and quarantine protocols in San Juan, Zamora said.
He added that 30 police bike patrollers will be deployed to maintain the bike lanes and the smaller streets.
“We will observe how this works here in Ortigas. And if it works well we can always implement in other roads in San Juan,” Zamora said. (PNA)